‘Torso Killer’ Richard Cottingham indicted in 1968 slaying

Notorious convicted serial murderer Richard Cottingham — known as the “Torso Killer” for the way he dismembered some of his victims — has been indicted for the 1968 slaying of a Long Island dance teacher after allegedly being linked to the cold case via DNA evidence.

Cottingham, 75, is already serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in New Jersey state prison for the brutal killings of six young women between 1967 and 1980.

The Nassau County district attorney and the Nassau County police will announce later Wednesday the new indictment against Cottingham for the killing of 23-year-old Diane Cusick, Newsday first reported.

Cottingham is expected to be arraigned on charges stemming from Cusick’s killing via videoconference before Nassau County Court Judge Caryn Fink.

Richard Cottingham is suspected of between 80 and 100 homicides.
NJ Department of Corrections
Cottingham was finally arrested in 1980.

Cusick, a dance teacher and mom of one, was found dead with duct tape wrapped tightly around her mouth and neck inside her car at Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream on Feb. 16, 1968.

Officials said she had been raped and beaten before being suffocated.

Sources told WPIX11 that DNA evidence recovered from the crime scene in the shopping center parking lot and a sample from Cottingham connected him to the murder.

Cottingham at the time of his arrest in 1980.
Bergen County Prosecutor’s Offi

Cottingham, however, reportedly plans to plead not guilty in this case.

Last year, Cottingham confessed to murdering 17-year-old Mary Ann Pryor and 16-year-old Lorraine Marie Kelly in New Jersey in 1974.

The convicted serial killer admitted to kidnapping the teenagers after offering to give them a ride, and then raping and torturing them for three days before drowning them in a motel room bathtub.

Twenty-two-year-old Deedeh Goodarzi was among Cottingham’s victims.
New York Post
Cottingham being escorted by officers on May 20, 1980.
New York Post

While he has claimed responsibility for 80 to 100 homicides, authorities in New York and New Jersey have only officially linked him to 12 so far, including the grisly murders of two women whose mutilated bodies, missing their heads and hands, were discovered at a motel near Times Square in December 1979.

One of the beheaded victims was identified as 22-year-old sex worker Deedeh Goodarzi. The other young woman has never been named.

Cottingham was married with three children and working as a computer programmer for a health insurance company in New York at the time of his arrest in 1980.

The serial killer was apprehended after a maid at a New Jersey motel heard a woman screaming inside his room. Police who were called to the scene found the 18-year-old victim alive, but handcuffed and suffering from knife wounds and bite marks on her breasts.

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