'Torso Killer' Richard Cottingham Confessed To New Murders As Recently As April

Photo credit: Rattanakun Thongbun / EyeEm - Getty Images
Photo credit: Rattanakun Thongbun / EyeEm - Getty Images
  • A new Netflix docuseries, Crime Scene: The Times Square Serial Killer, dropped this week.

  • The series focuses on Richard Cottingham, a.k.a the "Torso Killer."

  • Cottingham was initially known to target sex workers in New York City's Times Square, though he later confessed to many more murders.

Calling all true crime fanatics: Netflix’s latest docuseries, Crime Scene: The Times Square Serial Killer, just dropped and it's a deep-dive into a series of horrific crimes perpetrated in New York and New Jersey in the 1970s.

The three-episode series focuses on Richard Cottingham, known as the “Torso Killer," who was initially believed to have preyed on sex workers in New York City's Times Square. (Spoiler alert: He later confessed to many more crimes.)

But who is Richard Cottingham, exactly? And most important: Where is he now?

Here's everything you need to know:

Who is Richard Cottingham?

Richard Cottingham was born in 1946 and was raised mostly in New Jersey, according to the The New York Times. He married in 1970 and had three children. He lived with his wife and kids in Lodi, NJ—about 30 minutes outside of Manhattan, where Cottingham commuted to work as a computer operator at Blue Cross Blue Shield.

He also rented an apartment in the city, according to the Times, and told his wife he worked nights. But the reality was that Cottingham was prowling Times Square, following sex workers, and tracking their movements.

What were Richard Cottingham's crimes?

In the late '70s and early '80s, Cottingham left a trail of brutal murder scenes in New York City and the nearby New Jersey suburbs that stumped police and left the region on edge.

In December 1979, police discovered a horrific scene at a Travel Inn Motor Hotel in New York City, believed to be Cottingham’s first killing of this type. A hotel worker found the burned bodies of two women in a hotel room. Their heads and hands had been cut off.

A few months later, another sex worker from Times Square was found dead in a New Jersey motel. This crime was then linked to a second murder at that location, according to the Times.

Later that month, a fifth woman was found dead and mutilated at a Fifth Avenue hotel in Manhattan, the Times reports.

Cottingham stood trial and denied the killings, but was ultimately found guilty in August 1984 of all five slayings and was sent to a state prison in New Jersey, sentenced to more than 200 years in prison, per The New York Times.

Where is Richard Cottingham now?

In the years since his initial convictions, Cottingham has confessed to many more murders.

As recently as April 2021, he admitted to drowning two New Jersey girls after seizing them while they were shopping at a mall in 1974, according to NorthJersey.com.

Cottingham reportedly has "deep regrets" about his actions.

His attorney John Bruno, of Rutherford, New Jersey, said: "Cottingham told me this weighs heavily on him because he doesn't know why he did the things he did. He has deep regrets. He still doesn't understand why he did these things. But he feels relief knowing he has come clean for the families and for himself."

Cottingham, now 75 years old, continues to serve time in New Jersey State Prison in Trenton.

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