NJ ‘Torso Killer’ pleads responsible to chilly case murders of two women in 1974

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. (New Jersey Courts via AP)

New Jersey’s “Torso Killer” serial assassin pleaded responsible to 2 extra slayings Tuesday, bringing closure to the 1974 cold-case double murder of a pair of sweet sixteen women.

Mary Ann Pryor, 17, and her buddy Lorraine Marie Kelly, 16, needed to purchase bathing fits for an upcoming journey to the Jersey Shore on Aug. 9, 1974. So that they did what many youngsters did on the time – they hitchhiked to the mall.

The women left their houses in North Bergen to make a roughly 13-mile journey to the Backyard State Plaza mall once they encountered one of many space’s most infamous serial killers – Richard Cottingham.

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. (New Jersey Courts via AP)

On this picture taken from a New Jersey Courts digital listening to, Richard Cottingham, middle, generally known as the “Torso Killer,” pleads responsible Tuesday, April 27, 2021, to 2 1974 murders. (New Jersey Courts by way of AP)


The brutal predator gained his nickname, the “Torso Killer,” by leaving victims beheaded and dismembered in New Jersey and New York Metropolis, typically hiding physique components which have by no means been discovered.

Cottingham, now 74, has claimed duty for killing about 100 individuals. Investigators have linked him to 11 murders thus far however suspect there are extra victims.

He left Mary Ann and Lorraine face-down and within the woods close to the mall, severely abused and carrying solely necklaces that investigators used to assist establish the our bodies.

In court docket, Cottingham admitted to kidnapping the ladies, then tying them up and raping them each in a motel room. He killed them by drowning them within the bathtub.

Each had been tortured with cigarette burns, in accordance with NJ.com.

Authorities found the ugly scene 5 days after the ladies have been reported lacking.

Cottingham has been in jail because the 1980s after authorities caught him within the act of a sexual assault and tried homicide when witnesses reported listening to a lady’s screams coming from a motel room. Final yr, he additionally confessed to a few killings that occurred within the 1960s.

In December 1979, he left two headless victims in a lodge room in New York Metropolis’s Instances Sq., lighting their our bodies on hearth earlier than fleeing.


Just one was recognized – Deedeh Goodarzi, an immigrant from the Center East who was working as a prostitute in New York.

Goodarzi had given up a daughter for adoption earlier than her demise, and that daughter as an grownup tried to seek out her delivery mom, in accordance with NJ.com. When she realized of her ugly slaying, she sought out Cottingham in jail to demand solutions – and the 2 developed a weird friendship.

He reportedly confessed to her that he didn’t care about different individuals or society and did no matter he needed. He additionally informed her the place he allegedly buried her mom’s head – though investigators haven’t discovered it.

“I’m doing this for the moms who misplaced their daughters and my very own mom,” Goodarzi’s daughter, Jennifer Weiss, informed the outlet. “And for these women that their lives have been ended one night time or day by Richard taking part in God.”

Cottingham is already serving life in jail. He’s anticipated to obtain two extra concurrent life sentences within the 1974 murders in July.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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