NY Man Convicted in 1990 Prostitute Murders May Be Linked to at Least 1 Death in Notorious Gilgo Case, Prosecutor Says - NBC New York

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NY Man Convicted in 1990 Prostitute Murders May Be Linked to at Least 1 Death in Notorious Gilgo Case, Prosecutor Says

John Bittrolff received consecutive 25 years-to-life sentences for the beating deaths of two women in the 1990s

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    NEWSLETTERS

    1990's Escort Killer May Be Behind at Least 1 Gilgo Slay

    John Bittrolff received consecutive 25 years-to-life sentences for the beating deaths of two women in the 1990s. Greg Cergol reports.

    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017)

    What to Know

    • John Bittrolff, 51, was convicted in July of murdering two prostitutes found beaten to death in the 1990s

    • On Tuesday, received consecutive 25 years-to-life sentences for the beating deaths of two women in the 1990s

    • Prosecutors say he may be responsible for at least one of the notorious unsolved killings on Gilgo Beach; no one has been charged with those

    A prosecutor says a carpenter convicted of murdering two prostitutes in the 1990s may be responsible for at least one of the notorious unsolved killings of people along a Long Island beach highway. 

    Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla made the stunning revelation Tuesday following the sentencing of 51-year-old John Bittrolff. 

    The Manorville man received consecutive 25 years-to-life sentences for the beating deaths of two prostitutes. A jury deliberated for seven days before convicting him in July. Bittrolff denied killing the women and intends to appeal. 

    Police on Long Island are still investigating the killings of 10 victims whose bodies were found along Ocean Parkway, the work of an apparent serial killer or killers, investigators have said. The bodies were found within a couple of miles of one another, and several of the victims have been identified as escorts.

    DNA Link Leads to Break in Cold-Case Murders

    [NY] DNA Link Leads to Break in Long Island Cold Cases
    Suffolk County authorities made a big arrest in two cold cases on Long Island. Police believe they have the man responsible for the deaths of at least two women -- and the way police were led to him is as critical as the arrest itself. Greg Cergol reports.
    (Published Wednesday, July 23, 2014)

    Until Tuesday, no suspects had been identified in any of the deaths and no charges have been filed.

    Biancavilla said after the carpenter's sentencing that remains of some victims found along Gilgo Beach "may be attributed to the handiwork of Mr. Bittrolff." He said the investigation was ongoing, but didn't elaborate on which possible victims could be connected. A spokesman for the Suffolk County Police Department said detectives do not comment about ongoing investigations.

    At the time of Bittrolff's July 2014 arrest, law enforcement sources had told News 4 there was no link between Rita Tangredi and Colleen McNamee, the women he was later convicted of killing, and the Gilgo cases. One source at the time noted "significant dissimilarities" between the slayings.

    A K-9 officer and his cadaver dog were on a training mission searching for Shannan Gilbert, the escort who vanished after a call on Oak Beach, in December 2010 when they happened upon what would become, by spring of the following year, 10 sets of human remains — eight women, one man and one toddler. A skull, hands and forearm found along the parkway were linked to Jessica Taylor, another prostitute whose torso was found in Bittrolff's hometown of Manorville years earlier. 

    Gilbert's remains were found about a year later in a swamp a few miles away. Investigators have said she likely died of exposure; the medical examiner's office said the manner of death was inconclusive. 

    Bittrolff's attorney did not immediately return a call for comment on the district attorney's office suggestion he may have been involved in the slayings.

    Prosecutors say he dumped the nude bodies of Tangredi and McNamee about 35 miles away from the Gilgo site; they were found in late 1993 and early 1994. Both women had been strangled and suffered severe head injuries. 

    The killings remained unsolved for two decades until homicide detectives linked evidence found on the women's remains to Bittrolff's DNA.

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