A 75-year-old serial killer serving a life sentence in New Jersey state jail for murdering ladies over a decades-long span now’s accused of strangling a girl in a Lengthy Island mall car parking zone greater than 50 years in the past, Nassau County prosecutors say.
Richard Cottingham was indicted by a grand jury in the February 1968 killing of Diane Cusick, prosecutors stated Wednesday. Cusick was a 23-year-old dance instructor and mom of 1 when she was discovered crushed, raped and duct-taped in her automobile in Valley Stream’s Green Acres Mall car parking zone that 12 months. It was two days after Valentine’s Day.
Cottingham allegedly pretended to be a safety guard or police officer to get Cusick — and others — to go along with him, Det. Captain Steven Fitzpatrick stated at a information briefing. Fitzpatrick stated authorities had reviewed all homicides of ladies in the world on the time Cusick was killed and will have discovered different instances linked to Cottingham.
They’ve no less than 5 open instances they’ve submitted for DNA testing, he added.
Cottingham pleaded not responsible to a second-degree homicide cost in Cusick’s case on Wednesday and was remanded. He faces one other life sentence if convicted.
“Diane Cusick, a 23-year-old mom, referred to as her mother and father on the evening of February 15, 1968, to inform them she was going to the mall to buy footwear. She by no means returned dwelling,” Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly said in announcing the indictment. “Cusick was allegedly sure and murdered by Richard Cottingham.”
“It was only through advances in DNA technology that the NCDA and our partners at the Nassau County Police Department, could solve this 54-year-old cold case and identify a suspect in Ms. Cusick’s tragic death,” Donnelly added. “We make a promise to her surviving daughter today: we will bring her mother’s killer to justice.”
Cusick had gone to the mall the day she died to get some dance footwear. Her mother and father reported her lacking when she did not come dwelling. They had been those to search out her automobile on the mall car parking zone — and so they had been those to search out her physique in the backseat.
But it surely was Cusick’s daughter, Darlene Altman, who stood alongside legislation enforcement Wednesday as they introduced the indictment.
“I never thought I would see this day but all these people got justice for my mom,” daughter Darlene Altman stated. “It was overwhelming to see him on video in court with a dead stare.”
One in every of New Jersey’s most infamous serial killers, Cottingham was nicknamed “The Torso Killer” as a result of he was identified for dismembering his victims, according to NorthJersey.com. He has admitted to killing no less than a dozen ladies because the Nineteen Sixties.
Most just lately, Cottingham pleaded responsible final 12 months in New Jersey to the 1974 murders of two teenage mates who went to the mall sooner or later for bathing fits and by no means returned.
The youngsters, 17-year-old Mary Ann Pryor and 16-year-old Lorraine Marie Kelly, had been amongst no less than a dozen victims linked to Cottingham through the years. He admitted to murdering 9 ladies in the Nineteen Sixties and 70s however the demise toll is regarded as larger.
Within the early Eighties, Cottingham was convicted of killing 5 ladies — three in New York and two in Bergen County — and in 2010, he confessed to killing a girl in northern New Jersey in 1967. He has been jailed since 1981.
Cottingham has claimed to be liable for as much as 100 murders. Pryor and Kelly had been discovered 5 days after they went lacking — their nude, battered our bodies found facedown in the woods of northern New Jersey. Kelly was reportedly discovered with a beaded bracelet and a necklace that learn “Lorraine and Ricky,” a reference to her boyfriend. Pryor was found with a gold cross, a present from her godfather.