Who is Richard Cottingham? Biography, Wiki
Richard Cottingham, a serial killer known as the “torso killer,” admitted on Monday to killing a 23-year-old woman outside a Long Island mall in 1968 and four other women decades earlier.
Cottingham was charged with second-degree murder earlier this year in connection with the death of Diane Cusick during a shoe-shopping spree at the Green Acres mall.
Cottingham is considered one of America’s most prolific serial killers and has already been convicted of eleven other murders.
Richard Cottingham’s Age
His current age is 76 years.
Murders in Nassau County
Cottingham has claimed he is responsible for up to 100 murders, although authorities in New York and New Jersey have only officially linked him to a dozen so far. He has been jailed since 1980 when he was arrested after a maid heard a woman scream in his room.
Authorities found the woman alive but handcuffed and with bite and stab wounds. Cusick was a children’s dance teacher at the time of his death. She went to the Green Acres mall to buy new dancing shoes and was found lifeless in her back seat.
The coroner concluded that Cusick had been punched in the face and head and had suffocated. He had defensive wounds on his hands, and police were able to collect DNA evidence at the scene. At that time, however, there were no DNA tests.
The DNA was entered into a national database in 2016 when Cottingham pleaded guilty to another murder in New Jersey.
In 2021, Nassau County Police were notified that a suspect potentially responsible for murders in the suburban borough was jailed in New Jersey. They started DNA testing again in cases of the common cold and found a match with Cottingham.
Nassau’s prosecutor said it is likely the oldest DNA breach to have led to prosecution in that country. Following the arraignment in March, Cusick’s daughter, who was just four at the time of his death, said she never thought her mother’s killer would be brought to justice.
“The pain you and your family have experienced over the past 50 years is beyond our comprehension. Our best people are working on this case and we will bring justice to her mother,” Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly told Cusick.
Detectives say Cottingham is allegedly targeting young women who often pose as mall security guards.
“I confronted people coming out of the mall. He would accuse her of stealing something and as soon as he got her attention he would commit the violent act,” said Detective Capt. Steven Fitzpatrick.
Cottingham was a computer programmer for a health insurance company in New York City at the time of Cusick’s death. Cottingham is already serving a life sentence for other murders.