The notorious serial killer who was dubbed the “torso killer” admitted to two murders from 1974, according to The Associated Press (AP).
74-year-old Richard Cottingham pleaded guilty Tuesday to kidnapping, raping and murdering 17-year-old Mary Ann Pryor and 16-year-old Lorraine Marie Kelly in 1974, according to the AP.
The two teenage girls were last seen on August 9, 1974, in North Bergen, New Jersey. They told family and friends they were going to a Paramus mall to buy bathing suits for a trip to the Jersey Shore, The AP reported.
I’ve written about Richard Cottingham, the so-called Torso Killer, before. I’ve never forgotten the Pryor-Kelly cold case.
— Stefanie Dazio (@steffdaz) April 28, 2021
Witnesses told police the girls had gotten into a man’s car while hitchhiking. Pryor and Kelly were found five days after they were reported missing in North Jersey’s Bergen County woods.
“He’s relieved that this cloud that’s been hanging over his head for many, many years is now removed,” Cottingham’s defense attorney John Brunno told the AP. He added that the serial killer had “serious regret” for his crimes and sought to give the family closure.
“I keep saying, before my time comes, I’d love some answers, and I never give up hope that we will get them,” Mary Ann’s sister, Nancy Pryor, told The Record newspaper in 2016. (RELATED: 78-Year-Old Murderer Who Could Be America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer Found Guilty In 1994 Cold Case)
Prosecutors are expecting two life sentences to be served concurrently with the time Cottingham is already serving, according to the AP report.
Cottingham was dubbed the “torso killer” because several of his victims were dismembered and had their limbs and heads cut off. Authorities in New York and New Jersey have tied Cottingham to 11 homicides.