A new Netflix documentary investigates Richard Cottingham, also known as the 'Times Square Killer' who said he raped and killed over 105 women and is currently serving a life sentence in New Jersey

Netflix has released a new Netflix documentary about Richard Cottingham. Also known as the Times Square Killer, Cottingham claims he murdered and raped over 105 women. He is currently in New Jersey serving a life sentence. 

Netflix has a documentary The Times Square Killer is a crime scene examines the notorious case of Richard Cottingham – also known as ‘The Torso Killer’ – who claimed to have raped, slaughtered and mutilated more than 100 women between 1967 and 1980.

This series opens with the grisly discovery made in Times Square at the Travel Inn Motor Hotel on December 2, 1979. Two women were found on twin beds by police officers in Room 417. The bodies were not able to be revived by first responders, who discovered that the heads and hands of both victims had been missing.

Police could not identify victims because they had only their torsos. Police were unable to identify the victims because they had only their torsos. One detective stated that it was the ‘cleanest crime scene’ he has ever seen. It was devoid of evidence, including bloodstains, gore and fingerprints. Their clothing was all that the killer noticed. He had a pair each of Bonjour jeans and patent leather boots with a white leotard.   

In a confused state, the investigators used mannequins purchased from local department stores to dress them in victims’ clothes, hoping that someone would come forward with some information.

One slain woman was positively identified through a cesarean-section scar as 22-year-old, Iranian prostitute, Deedeh Goodarzi. Jane Doe has yet to be identified the victim of the second female attack. They were never located.

Cottingham later claimed that Times Square police stopped him while he was carrying the severed heads in large potatoes sacks to his car. They then let him go. Cottingham returned to the hotel and soaked the scene in lighter fluid, setting the room ablaze.

NYPD realized they had a serial killer on the loose when the charred remains of two women were discovered in a Times Square motel room on December 2, 1979. Without heads and hands, they were unable to identify the victims. Instead, police borrowed mannequins from nearby department stores and dressed them in the victims’ clothing, hoping it wou

NYPD realized they had a serial  killer on their hands in December 1979, after they uncovered the charred, mutilated remains of two women at the Travel Inn Motor Hotel in Times Square. The victims were not identifiable by authorities because there was no head or hand. They borrowed mannequins at nearby departmental stores, dressed the victims in their clothing and hoped someone would come forward with some information. Deedeh Goodarzi was identified as the victim, while another woman who was slain remains unidentified.

Deedeh Goodarzi was a 22-year-old high-end prostitute from Iran whose family immigrated to Long Island when she was a teenager. She was positively identified through a cesarean-section scar after a friend recognized her clothing. Recently, her daughter that she gave up for adoption while turning tricks has made headlines for forging an unlikely friendship with Richard Cottingham in prison

Deedeh, 22, was an Iranian high-end prostitute who immigrated from Iran when she was just a teenager. After a friend recognised her clothes, she was identified by a cearean-section scar. Recent headlines have focused on her adopted daughter, who she turned to tricks for while trying for adoption. She also made headlines because of her unlikely friendship with Richard Cottingham at prison.

Richard Cottingham earned his moniker as 'the Torso Killer' after he raped and murdered two women in a Times Square motel  before setting their decapitated torsos ablaze. Their skulls and hands were never found. He has officially been charged with 11 murders but says he's killed over 100 women

Richard Cottingham earned his moniker as ‘the Torso Killer’ after he raped and murdered two women in a Times Square motel  before setting their decapitated torsos ablaze. They were not found with their skulls or hands. Although he has been officially charged with eleven murders, a representative of the prosecution claims that he had killed more than 100 women.

Netflix's new 'Crime Scene' docuseries examines the notorious case of Richard Cottingham who left a bloody trail of victims between 1967 and 1980. Cottingham targeted sex workers in Times Square before torturing and mutilating their bodies, often leaving only their torsos behind as evidence

Netflix’s latest ‘Crime Scene’ docuseries explores Richard Cottingham, a notorious serial killer who left a trail that led to countless victims in 1967 through 1980. Cottingham was a serial killer who targeted Times Square sex workers, leaving their torsos and blood as evidence.

Six months later, in mid-May 1980, the psychopath sexual sadist, who was known in the media as the ‘The Torso Killer,’ attacked again. Jean Reyner (25-year-old call girl who was working as a mother to pay for custody) was strangled and cut in the throat.  

Particularly gruesome was the crime scene. Malcolm Reiman, Detective Malcolm Reiman stated that the crime scene was “pretty much the hotel room of hell.” Vernon Geberth (ex-Commanding Officer for Bronx Homicide) recalled that the killer had cut her breasts off and placed them on top of the headboard. 

As before, the butcher set the fire in the room. Authorities were immediately alerted that they had a serial murderer. Geberth stated, “When you look for a murderer in 1970s Times Square you are looking for an eye in a needle.” 

The monster they chose would be 33-year old Richard Cottingham. He was a Married Milquetoast Father of Three from Lodi in New Jersey and worked as a Computer Operator for BlueCross BlueShield Manhattan. His psychopathic passion for hunting Times Square’s prostitutes was later revealed to him. 

According to all reports, he was an “average guy” who lived in an average home and drove an average vehicle. 

Nobody at the time suspected that Cottingham’s killing spree had began over a decade earlier with the murder of Nancy Vogel in 1967 and five New Jersey high school girls in 1968 and ’69.

New York City was gripped with fear after the Travel Inn Motor Hotel murders went unsolved. Cottingham was eventually arrested in May 1980 after committing a string of grisly murders across Manhattan and New Jersey, with the same hallmark traits

New York City became a terror zone after the Travel Inn Motor Hotel killings. Cottingham was ultimately arrested May 1980, after being accused of a series grisly murders throughout Manhattan and New Jersey.

Cottingham evaded law enforcement by deliberately preying on marginalized sex workers during a time when crime-ridden New York City was dubbed 'Fear City.' The sexual predator prowled Times Square for his victims which was considered a deviant playground for pornography, prostitution and crooks

Cottingham was caught by law enforcement stealing from marginalized sex workers in a period when New York City was known as ‘Fear City.’ For his victims, the sexual predator swarmed Times Square as a playground for pornography. Prostitution was king.

The documentary paints a terrifying portrait of a city overrun with crime, which allowed Cottingham to flourish and evade law enforcement. A famous pamphlet made by NYPD during the 1970s advised tourists to ‘stay off the streets after 6pm,’ ‘do not walk,’ and ‘never ride the subway for any reason whatsoever'

Cottingham was able to thrive and avoid law enforcement by painting a frightening portrait in the documentary. NYPD issued a famous pamphlet in 1970 that advised tourists not to walk on the streets or use subways for any reason.

Cops apprehended Richard Cottingham on May 22, 1980 in a New Jersey Quality Inn after staff alerted police of screams coming from a room. It was the same motel that a maid had discovered the mutilated body of Valerie Street just two weeks earlier, and the body of Maryann Car in 1977. Cottingham had been in the process of torturing his latest victim, 19-year-old Leslie Ann O'Dell, who survived the attack and testified against him during his trial

After being alerted by staff to the sound of screaming coming from one room, cops arrested Richard Cottingham in New Jersey Quality Inn on May 22, 1980. The same motel where a maid discovered Valerie Street’s mutilated body two weeks prior and Maryann Car’s body in 1977 was also the location. Cottingham, 19, was torturing Leslie Ann O’Dell (19 years old), who survived and testified against Cottingham in his trial.

Jean Reyner was found dead at Manhattan’s hotel on May 5, 1980. A maid from the Quality Inn New Jersey discovered Valerie Ann Street’s naked body under her bed. Her hands were tightly held behind her back by her handcuffs. Recently, she was arrested in Miami on charges of prostitution. On May 5, 1980, she was seen by John in New York City.

Valerie Street had her body covered with bite marks, and was brutally beat in a disturbingly similar fashion to Maryann Car’s death three years ago. 

Malcolm Reiman, an ex-NYPD detective, explained that despite obvious similarities, they were not connected to the Times Square murderer. It was still very young and was not possible to use CCTV or computers for criminal profiling. 

Cottingham was not a law enforcer. He preyed on marginalized sexworkers during a period when New York City’s crime rate plunged into lawlessness.  

That was also when Times Square was created and Times Square became a household name. Deviant withdrawal of illicit pleasures, pornography and prostitution – offeringThe perfect hunting ground for the sexual predator.  

The body of 25-year-old Jean Reyner, a single mother who was turning tricks to finance a child custody battle, was found violently murdered on May 15, 1980 in a midtown hotel. The crime scene was particularly gruesome, Cottingham severed her breasts and placed them on the headboard before torching the room. Cops eventually tied him to the crime when they found Reyner's necklace among his 'trophies.' It was the same necklace that had been pictured on Reyner in a previous arrest photo for prostitution

Jean Reyner (25-year-old single mother, who had been using tricks to fund a custody dispute with her children) was brutally killed in an unmarked hotel room on May 15, 1980. Cottingham ripped Jean Reyner’s breasts off and placed them on the headboard, before lighting the entire room. The crime was finally solved when cops found Reyner’s necklace among the ‘trophies. This was the exact same necklace Reyner had worn in an earlier arrest for prostitution. 

In 2010, while serving multiple life sentences, Cottingham pleaded guilty in the 1967 murder of Nancy Vogel, 29. It is believed that she was his first victim

Cottingham, who was serving life sentences for multiple crimes, pleaded guilty to the murder of Nancy Vogel (29), in 2010. She is thought to have been his first victim. 

In 2021, Cottingham admitted to killing 17-year-old Mary Ann Pryor (above) and 16-year-old Lorraine Marie Kelly in a New Jersey motel room in August 1974

Lorraine Marie Kelly, 16

In 2021 Cottingham confessed and pleaded guilty to the double kidnapping and murders of Lorraine Marie Kelly, 16 and Mary Ann Pryor, 17 in 1974. In a New Jersey motel, they were both raped. They drowned in their bathtubs.

Six months after two headsless torsos appeared in Times Square, cops got a fortunate break. Cottingham took Leslie Ann O’Dell to Midtown Manhattan on May 22, 1980 and brought her back the New Jersey motel, where he had mutilated his previous victim 18 days before.  

He then proceeded to beat, torture and sexually abuse the runaway, aged 19, for several hours (nearly biting one of her nipples), until a maid heard her muffled screamings. Leslie Ann O’Dell, a hotel employee, opened the door to allow staff further investigation. She signaled quietly for assistance. 

Richard Cottingham tried to escape, but was apprehended by police. He was found with handcuffs as well as a leather gag and two slave collars. A switchblade, replica guns, and a stash of sedatives were also in his possession.  

NYPD immediately made comparisons to unsolved New Jersey sexual assault cases after his arrest. A search warrant was executed on Cottingham’s home and they discovered a hidden, locked “trophy” room that contained souvenirs of Cottingham’s evil acts. Among S&M books and pornographic artwork were Maryann Carr’s apartment key and jewelry that belonged to his other victims.  

Richard Cottingham was convicted of five murders and numerous counts of kidnapping and sexual assault using evidence found in his ‘trophy room’ combined with a matching fingerprint left on handcuffs used in the murder of Valerie Street. He was sentenced at Trenton State Prison in New Jersey to 173-197 years.

It was fun to me. It was mostly psychological. I was able to get almost any woman to do whatever I wanted them to do, psychologically,’ said the sinister 75-year-old in a recent jailhouse interview with journalist Nadia Fezzani. ‘It’s God-like, almost. It’s almost like you have complete control over someone’s fate.

Over four trials in the early 1980s, three in Jersey and one in New York, Richard Cottingham was convicted of five murders. That included the 1977 slaying of a married 27-year-old nurse whose body was found dumped by a chain-link fence in the parking lot of the same Quality Inn where he’d committed other atrocities three years later. She had been cut about the chest and legs, beaten with a blunt instrument, and covered in bites and bruises

Richard Cottingham was found guilty of five murders in four trial in early 1980s. Three were in New Jersey, and three were in New York. That included the 1977 slaying of a married 27-year-old nurse whose body was found dumped by a chain-link fence in the parking lot of the same Quality Inn where he’d committed other atrocities three years later. Her chest, legs, and arms were slit, she was beaten with a blunt object, and her body covered in bites, bruises, and scratches.

A picture taken of the New Jersey Courts virtual hearing in April 2021, when Richard Cottingham pleaded guilty to two 1974 murders, finally closing the cold case deaths of teenage friends who had left home for a trip to the mall and never returned

Photograph taken at the New Jersey Courts Virtual Hearing in April 2021. Richard Cottingham plead guilty to 2 murders committed in 1974. This closed the case against two of his teenage buddies who fled home for a shopping trip and never came back.

Cottingham pleaded guilty in 2010. Nancy Vogel’s 1967 assassination. He confessed to being immune to the 1969 and 1968 homicides that occurred in New Jersey, where he was also a suspect. 

Most recently, in April 2021, Cottingham confessed and pleaded guilty to the double kidnapping and murders of Lorraine Marie Kelly, 16 and Mary Ann Pryor, 17 in 1974. Cottingham admitted to having taken the girls to a motel where they were tied up and raped, before dumping them into a bathtub. 

He has officially been charged with 11 murders but according to Cottingham himself, has committed as many as 105 total slayings over the course of his homicidal career –  80 of which he described as ‘perfect murders.’  

Joe Berlinger is serial killer-aficionado and the Netflix series includes interviews with police officers, detectives, and sex workers. BlueCross BlueShield’s former colleague Dominick Volpe testifies about Cottingham’s sexually perverse tendencies. 

The doc also spotlights a conversation with Jennifer Weiss, Deedah Goodarzi’s biological daughter, who made headlines last year when she struck up an unlikely friendship with her mother’s killer while he served his prison sentence. 

In a strange turn of events, Deedah Goodarzi's biological daughter, Jennifer Weiss has forged an unlikely friendship with the man who strangled and beheaded her mother in 1979. Goodarzi gave up her daughter for adoption when she was less than two weeks old, it wasn't until Weiss tried to reconnect with her biological mother in 2002 that she discovered the disturbing truth of her violent demise

In a strange turn of events, Deedah Goodarzi’s biological daughter, Jennifer Weiss has forged an unlikely friendship with the man who strangled and beheaded her mother in 1979. Goodarzi had given her child up for adoption in her first two weeks of life. Weiss only discovered her shocking truth when trying to reconnect with her biological mom in 2002.

'All of the women that Richard killed left this world in a horrific way,' said Jennifer Weiss in the doc. 'So I maintain a relationship with Richard now because I want the names of the unidentified victims he took. Lives that never came to fruition. I think we need to remember them because they deserve justice'

Jennifer Weiss, in the doctor’s report stated that Richard had killed all of his victims. “So, I have a close relationship with Richard because I would like to know the identities of those he has taken. These were lives that did not come to pass. They deserve justice, so I believe we should keep them in our minds.

Weiss was just two weeks old when she was placed for adoption. When she attempted to contact her biological mother, in 2002 she found out the shocking truth about her tragic death through newspaper clippings. In her search for answers, she contacted Richard Cottingham at prison. She has been to him more than 30 times.  

In the doc, she stated that all the victims of Richard’s murders left the world in terrible circumstances. It is always heavy over me.

‘So I maintain a relationship with Richard now because I want the names of the unidentified victims he took. These were lives that did not come to pass. We should remember their lives because they are deserving of justice.