Notorious 'Torso Killer' Indicted in 1968 Murder of N.Y. Dance Teacher Who Was Found Strangled in Her Car
Richard Cottingham was known as the "Torso Killer" for the way he maimed his victims — unsuspecting young women and girls he lured to their brutal deaths.
From 1967 to 1980, Cottingham drowned, strangled, raped and dismembered his victims, say authorities.
In 1979, two of his victims were found in a motel in Times Square in New York City without their heads and hands, giving him another dark moniker, the "Times Square Killer."
Now 75, the former computer programmer and father of three is currently serving a life sentence without parole in a New Jersey state prison for killing six young women between 1967 and 1980.
On Wednesday, Cottingham was charged with yet another slaying: the 1968 murder of young mom Diane Cusick, 23, of New Hyde Park, N.Y., whose body was discovered bound with duct tape, strangled to death and left inside her car at the Green Acres Mall parking lot in Long Island on Feb. 15, 1968.
"I never thought I'd see this day," Cusick's daughter, Darlene Altman, said at a press conference Wednesday after Cottingham's arraignment in Nassau County Court, WNBC reports. "I had given up, but all these people got justice for me and for my mother."
On Wednesday, Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly announced that Cottingham had been charged with one count of second-degree murder in Cusick's death.
"Diane Cusick, a 23-year-old mother, called her parents on the night of February 15, 1968, to tell them she was going to the mall to purchase shoes," Donnelly while announcing the indictment.
"She never returned home. Cusick was allegedly bound and murdered by Richard Cottingham," Donnelly continued. "It was only through advances in DNA technology that the NCDA and our partners at the Nassau County Police Department could solve this 54-year-old cold case and identify a suspect in Ms. Cusick's tragic death."
"We make a promise to her surviving daughter today," she added. "We will bring her mother's killer to justice."
Cusick's daughter was 4 years old when her mother was killed.
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During the press conference, Nassau Detective Captain Steven Fitzpatrick detailed how Cottingham would lure his victims by posing as a store security guard, telling them he believed they had stolen something and needed to come with him.
Cottingham has said he is responsible for as many as 100 murders, the Associated Press and ABC News report. He has been linked officially to 12, including Cusick's slaying.
Authorities said he is a possible suspect in at least 5 other murders on Long Island, WNBC reports.
On Wednesday, Cottingham, an inmate at South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, New Jersey, was arraigned virtually before Judge Caryn Fink on a grand jury indictment, charging him with one count of murder in the second degree.
He attended via videoconference from a hospital bed at St. Francis Medical Center, where his attorney entered a not guilty plea for him.
If convicted, faces a potential maximum of 25 years to life in prison.
His attorney did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.