LONG ISLAND, NY — The Long Island carpenter who was convicted of killing two prostitutes in the 1990s may be responsible for at least one of 10 unsolved murders near Gilgo Beach, according to a prosecutor.
Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla announced after John Bittrolff’s sentencing on Tuesday that remains of some of the Gilgo victims “may be attributed to the handiwork of Mr. Bittrolff.”
Bittrolff, 51, received consecutive 25-years-to-life sentences for the beating deaths of two victims — 31-year-old Rita Tangredi and 20-year-old Colleen McNamee. The remains of the women were found nine miles apart in late 1993 and early 1994, about 35 miles from the Gilgo Beach site. Both were working as prostitutes, and both 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 Bitrolff’s DNA. He was arrested in 2014.
Police on Long Island are still investigating the killings of 10 victims of an apparent serial killer or killers, who has been dubbed the “Long Island Serial Killer” by the media. The Gilgo Beach murders are all still unsolved, and Suffolk County Police Department said detectives do not comment about ongoing investigations.
But Bittrolff’s attorney, Jonathan Manley, insisted that any alleged connection by his client to the Gilgo killings has absolutely no factual basis.” He said:
“Mr. Bittrolff maintains his innocence in the deaths of Ms. Tangredi and Ms. McNamee and any insinuation that he had anything to do with the Gilgo killings is laughable and meant simply to attract headlines.”
According to prosecutors, Bittrolff’s was the first conviction in a homicide case in New York state involving “partial match” DNA. He was arrested in 2014 after investigators discovered that a DNA sample submitted by his brother, Timothy Bittrolff, was a partial match to the DNA left on the two dead women.
After eliminating Timothy as a suspect, police obtained a DNA sample from John Bittrolff’s garbage, which was left outside his home.
Bittrolff has denied killing any of the women and intends to appeal the verdict.
Main photo: John Bittrolff [Suffolk Police Department]