Home NEWS Decades later, ‘Torso Killer’ charged in killing at NY mall

Decades later, ‘Torso Killer’ charged in killing at NY mall

by universalverge

MINEOLA, N.Y. — Greater than 5 many years after Diane Cusick’s lifeless physique was found within the car parking zone of a mall on New York’s Lengthy Island, authorities have linked her demise to the so-called “Torso Killer,” a serial killer already convicted in 11 different killings.

The suspect, Richard Cottingham — believed to be considered one of America’s most prolific serial killers — was arraigned Wednesday on a second-degree homicide cost in reference to Cusick’s 1968 killing. From a hospital mattress in New Jersey, the place he’s already serving a life sentence for different killings, Cottingham pleaded not responsible.

Whereas he has claimed he was answerable for as much as 100 homicides, authorities in New York and New Jersey have formally linked him to solely a dozen thus far, together with Cusick’s demise. He has been imprisoned since 1980, when he was arrested after a motel maid heard a girl screaming inside his room. Authorities discovered her alive however certain with handcuffs and affected by chunk marks and knife wounds.

Cottingham requested to be arraigned Wednesday by video feed from the New Jersey hospital as a result of he was ill, bedridden and never ambulatory, Decide Caryn Fink stated. He wanted his lawyer, Jeff Groder, to repeat the decide’s questions a number of occasions as a result of he has issue listening to, Groder stated.

“He’s a violent predator and irrespective of how he appears at the moment in a hospital mattress he was not at all times a feeble older man,” Nassau County District Lawyer Anne Donnelly stated in an interview with The Related Press. “He was a younger 22-year-old when he dedicated the homicide of Ms. Cusick. He was sturdy, stronger than these girls had been, and he was violent.”

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Authorities consider Cusick, 23, left her job at a youngsters’s dance college after which stopped on the Inexperienced Acres Mall in Nassau County to purchase a pair of footwear when Cottingham adopted her out. Detectives consider he pretended to be a safety guard or police officer, accused her of stealing after which overpowered the 98-pound (44-kilogram) Cusick, Nassau County Police Detective Capt. Stephen Fitzpatrick stated.

She was “brutally overwhelmed, murdered and raped in that automobile,” Fitzpatrick stated. The health worker concluded that Cusick had been overwhelmed within the face and head and was suffocated till she died. She had defensive wounds on her arms and police had been capable of accumulate DNA proof on the scene. However on the time, there was no DNA testing.

Police interviewed dozens of individuals, retraced her steps and by no means stopped looking for her killer. However the path went chilly.

“The police did an incredible job in search of any leads they might discover. “They spoke to lots of of individuals on the Inexperienced Acres Mall to see if anybody had seen Diane,” Donnelly stated. “Sadly, the path went chilly and the case went chilly.”

Cottingham was working as a pc programmer for a medical health insurance firm in New York on the time of Cusick’s demise. He was convicted of homicide in each New York and New Jersey within the Nineteen Eighties, although the legislation on the time didn’t require folks convicted to submit DNA samples, because it does now. His DNA was taken and entered right into a nationwide database in 2016 when he pleaded responsible to a different homicide in New Jersey.

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In 2021, police in Nassau County obtained a tip {that a} suspect who could be answerable for killings within the county, simply east of New York Metropolis, was locked up in New Jersey. They started working DNA assessments once more on chilly circumstances and got here up with a match to Cottingham.

Cottingham additionally led police to consider he was answerable for the demise by offering some details about the case, together with telling detectives he was close to a drive-in theater, which was subsequent to the mall on the time. However he stopped wanting confessing on to Cusick’s demise, Donnelly stated.

“He didn’t lay out a full admission. What he laid out was child steps alongside the best way that we had been capable of put along with the assistance of the police division to fill in that story,” she stated.

Prosecutors are actually reviewing all open circumstances across the identical time and working DNA to see if Cottingham might have been answerable for different killings.

“Based mostly on proof that we’ve on this case, we’re reviewing all murders of younger females from 1967 to 1980 to see if we will put collectively any extra circumstances in opposition to Mr. Cottingham,” Donnelly stated.

Cusick’s daughter, Darlene Altman, stated she was overwhelmed when she noticed Cottingham on the video display within the courtroom. Altman was simply 4 when her mom was killed.

“He simply had this like lifeless stare. I felt like he was trying proper at me,” Altman stated. “It was creepy.”

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