A New Jersey man notoriously known as the “Torso Killer” has pleaded guilty to killing a 23-year-old dance teacher, decades after she was found dead.

According to a Nassau County District Attorney’s Office press release, 76-year-old Richard Cottingham, who is currently serving a life sentence without parole in a New Jersey state prison for killing six young women between 1967 and 1980, confessed to the 1968 slaying of Diane Cusick.

For Cusick’s murder, he was sentenced to 25 years to life.

Cottingham, who is also known as the “Times Square Killer,” admitted to killing four additional women between 1972 and 1973, authorities said.

Because he will live out the rest of his days behind bars due to prior murder convictions, the DA agreed not to prosecute him for the slayings of the four other victims: 21-year-old Mary Beth Heinz, 23-year-old Laverne Moye, 33-year-old Sheila Heiman and 18-year-old Maria Emerita Rosado Nieves.

DA Anne T. Donnelly said in a statement Monday, “Serial killer Richard Cottingham has caused irreparable harm to so many people and so many families. Today, he took responsibility for the murder of five young women here in Nassau County between 1968 and 1973.”

“He overpowered, assaulted, and brutally murdered them to satisfy his craven desires,” she said.

“Thankfully he will spend the rest of his life in prison where he belongs.”

According to the release, on Feb. 16, 1968, Cusick, a dance instructor in Oceanside, N.Y., told her family she was going to the Green Acres Mall to buy a pair of dancing shoes.

She never returned home.

The next morning, her parents found her body in the backseat of her car in the mall parking lot, the release reads. Her mouth was taped shut and her hands were bound. Cusick was strangled to death, according to authorities.

In 2021, DNA evidence from the case was retested, and in 2022, authorities were able to match the DNA to Cottingham.

During that time, Cottingham also admitted to the murders of Heinz, Moye, Heiman and Nieves, authorities said.

In May 1972, the body of Heinz was discovered strangled to death, floating face down in a muddy stream in a wooded area of Rockville Centre, N.Y., according to the release. She suffered from multiple scrapes and bruises to the face and neck.

In July 1972, Moye’s body was found in the same area as Heinz, authorities said. She too was strangled to death.

A year later in July 1973, Heiman was discovered fatally bludgeoned in her North Woodmere, N.Y., bathroom. She also suffered from a broken jaw and cuts to her neck and face, according to authorities.

Then in December 1973, Nieves was found dead in a weeded area of Jones Beach, N.Y. She was strangled to death and her body was covered in plastic bags, per the release.

“Richard Cottingham killed who he wanted, when he wanted because he’s a serial killer,” Donnelly said at a news conference, according to The New York Times. “That is what he is.”

Original Article