Home » NJ’s infamous ‘Torso Killer’ confesses to 1974 murders of two Garden State teens, solving long-cold murder cases

NJ’s infamous ‘Torso Killer’ confesses to 1974 murders of two Garden State teens, solving long-cold murder cases

The infamous “Torso Killer,” known for dismembering his victims in a series of decades-old homicides, pleaded guilty Tuesday to the long-unsolved killings of two New Jersey teens.

Serial killer Richard Cottingham made his admission in the cold case murders of the high school girls, acknowledging that he kidnapped, raped and finally drowned the pair inside a motel room bathtub. Victims Mary Ann Pryor, 17, and Lorraine Marie Kelly, 16, were abducted and killed in August 1976.

“This is a somber day as we revisit the horrific acts and terror this man brought upon Bergen County nearly 50 years ago,” said county prosecutor Mark Musella. “It is my fervent hope that this arrest and conviction bring some semblance of closure to the friends and family of Mary Ann and Lorraine.”

Cottingham, now linked to 11 murders in the Garden State and across the Hudson River in New York, has claimed responsibility for up to 100 killings. But the defendant, now 74, said little at a New Jersey Superior Court hearing where he pleaded guilty to the double homicide with one- and two-word replies.

In this image taken from a New Jersey Courts virtual hearing, Richard Cottingham, center, known as the "Torso Killer," pleads guilty Tuesday, April 27, 2021, to two 1974 murders, finally closing the cold case deaths of teenage friends who had left home for a trip to the mall and never returned. Cottingham, 74, is currently in state prison on a life sentence for other murders.

The white-bearded killer wore a prison jump suit, and faces two life additional life sentences at his July sentencing. The terms will run concurrent with his life sentence in the prior murders.

Prior to his 1980 arrest, Cottingham was the married father of three kids and worked as a computer technician for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Greater New York while living in suburban Lodi, N.J.

Cottingham provided a “detailed, sworn and recorded” confession to the 1976 murders in a sitdown with the prosecutor’s office on April 14, authorities said.

The two victims in his latest conviction disappeared after heading off from North Bergen for the Paramus mall, where the teens intended to buy bathing suits for a trip to the Jersey Shore. Their naked and battered bodies were later discovered facedown in a wooded area of north Jersey.

Source (Ny Daily news)

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