The “Torso Killer,” a serial killer, acknowledged on Monday that she and four other women were murdered in the past, including a 23-year-old outside a Long Island retail center in 1968.
Earlier this year, Richard Cottingham was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Diane Cusick, who was killed while visiting the nearby Green Acres Mall to buy shoes.
Cottingham, who has previously been found guilty of 11 other homicides, is thought to be one of America’s most prolific serial killers.
Cottingham appeared virtually from a New Jersey jail at the hearing in Nassau County Court and received a sentence of 25 years to life in prison for killing Cusick.
As part of his plea agreement for the murder of Cusick, he was granted immunity from prosecution for the four other murders he agreed to.
Even though Cottingham has claimed to be accountable for up to 100 murders, just a dozen have been formally connected to him by New York and New Jersey police.
Since being caught in 1980 due to a motel maid hearing a woman screaming inside his room, he has been incarcerated.
Authorities discovered the woman bound, alive, with bite marks and knife wounds.
Authorities think that when Cottingham followed Cusick to her car after she left her employment at a children’s dance studio,
Cusick stopped at the Nassau County mall to buy a pair of shoes.
They think he claimed to be a security guard or police officer, accused the 98-pound (44-kg) woman of stealing, and then beat her up.
According to the medical examiner, Cusick had been battered in the face and head and smothered.
She had cut from self-defense on her hands, and investigators were able to gather DNA evidence there.
However, DNA testing was nonexistent at the time.
When Cottingham accepted a guilty plea in 2016 for a second murder in New Jersey, the DNA was added to a public database.
Police in Nassau County, New York, were alerted in 2021 by a tip that a man who may be responsible for murders in the outlying county was being held in New Jersey.
They restarted conducting DNA tests on earlier cases and discovered a match to Cottingham.
At the time of Cusick’s passing, Cottingham was a computer programmer for a health insurance firm in New York.