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Inmate admits to killing five women in infamous Long Island ‘Torso Killer’ slayings


Long Island, NY prosecutors said Monday that a New Jersey inmate dubbed the “Torso Killer” pleaded guilty to a 1968 slaying near New York City, as well as admitting to four other homicides. Richard Cottingham — believed to be one of America’s most prolific serial killers — admitted to strangling 23-year-old Diane Cusick on Feb. 15, 1968, at the Green Acres Mall in Nassau County Officials said that in addition to Cusick’s case, he also confessed to four other Long Island slayings, officials said.

Cusick had left her job at a children’s dance school and then stopped at the mall to buy a pair of dance shoes when the New Hyde Park woman was strangled by Cottingham, authorities said. District Attorney Anne Donnelly told reporters in Mineola, NY: “Today is one is one the most emotional days we’ve ever had the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office … In the case of Diane Cusick, her family has waited nearly 55 years for someone to be held accountable for her death.”

Nassau County investigators said Cottingham could be responsible for as many as 13 homicides in their jurisdiction, but these slayings are the only ones they can positively link him to now. He’s been dubbed the “Torso Killer” due to the savage manner he maimed some of his victims. Cottingham had also been called the “Times Square Killer” for murders he committed in New York City.

Cottingham is in poor health and living out his days in a New Jersey prison, serving life for murders committed there. The 76-year-old appeared via remote feed from New Jersey.

Editorial credit: Leonard Zhukovsky /

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