In a Tuesday announcement, the Suffolk County District Attorney said that a convicted killer may be the same man at the center of the Long Island Serial Killer investigation.
According to PIX11, Thomas Spota pointed to 51-year-old John Bittrolff, a Manorville carpenter, who was arrested in 2014 and convicted for two cold case murders of sex workers in the early 1990s. Now, Spota is saying Bittrolff might have murdered additional victims found on Gilgo Beach in 2010 and 2011.
It’s a change of tune from 2014, when Spota said that there was “no evidentiary or investigative link between this case and Gilgo.”
Thirty-one-year-old Rita Tangredi was found beaten and strangled in November 1993. Twenty-year-old Colleen McNamee was also discovered beaten and killed in January 1994. Both women were positioned in a specific way.
Spota said in 2014, that he suspected another sex worker found killed in 2013, Sandra Castillo, was murdered by the same killer. Bittrolff, a married father of two, was linked to the first two deaths through DNA evidence. According to the New York Daily News, he received consecutive 25-years-to-life sentences for the two deaths.
In 2000, the torso of a female murder victim was discovered in Manorville, near Bittrolff’s home, PIX11 points out. During the Gilgo Beach investigation in 2011, that victim’s heads and limbs were discovered. In 2003, the torso of young sex worker, Jessica Taylor, was found by a jogger in Manorville. In 2011, Taylor’s skull and hands were found near Gilgo Beach.
In December 2010, the bodies of five Craigslist escorts were discovered wrapped in burlap in Gilgo Beach. Within a few months time, the body parts of six other victims were also recovered from the area. One was just a child.
Retired NYPD homicide commander Vernon Geberth told PIX11, “I say those bodies, the heads and the hands are linked to one killer.”
But, a lawyer for the family of Gilgo Beach victim Shannan Gilbert isn’t so sure. John Ray said, "There’s just no where near enough evidence for that connection. … It enables the district attorney’s office to present to the public that they have found the killer and he’s in jail already.”
[Photos: Suffolk County Sheriff's Office]