Richard Francis Cottingham was a serial killer and rapist from New York and New Jersey who murdered at least 12 young women and girls between 1967 and 1980. He was also known as The Torso Killer and Times Square Killer. But did you know that Cottingham shared an office with the Dating Game Killer, Rodney Alcala?
Cottingham shared an office with serial killer Rodney Alcala, the “Dating Game Killer,” living in New York under the alias “John Berger” in 1969; neither man has claimed to be aware of the other.
Who Exactly is Richard Cottingham?
Richard Fancis Cottingham was the first of four children born on November 25, 1946, in Mott Haven, Bronx, New York City. His family relocated to Dumont, New Jersey, in 1948 and River Vale, New Jersey, in 1956. Cottingham graduated from Pascack Valley High School in Hillsdale, New Jersey, in 1964.
After graduating from high school in 1964, Cottingham began working for Metropolitan Life, where his father was a vice president, at the company’s headquarters on Madison Avenue in New York City. He started in the mail room and progressed to become a mainframe computer operator after taking computer classes. He began working as a computer operator for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in New York in October 1966 and remained there until his arrest in 1980.
Cottingham shared an office with fugitive serial killer Rodney Alcala, the “Dating Game Killer,” who was living in New York in 1969 under the alias “John Berger”; neither man has claimed to have known the other, and there is no evidence they were acquainted before either man’s arrest. (Source: Criminal Minds Fandom)
Who is Rodney Alcala?
Rodney Alcala was born Rodrigo Jacques Alcala Buquor in San Antonio, Texas, to Raoul Alcala Buquor and Anna Maria Gutierrez, a Mexican-American couple. Alcala’s father relocated the family to Mexico in 1951, only to abandon them three years later. Alcala’s mother moved him and his two sisters to suburban Los Angeles when he was 11.
Alcala joined the United States Army as a clerk in 1961, when he was 17. He was diagnosed with an antisocial personality disorder by a military psychiatrist and discharged on medical grounds in 1964, following what was described as a nervous breakdown, during which he went AWOL and hitchhiked from Fort Bragg to his mother’s house.
After leaving the army, Alcala attended the UCLA School of Fine Arts and studied film at New York University under Roman Polanski. (Source: Criminal Minds Fandom)
Serial Killers’ Murder Careers
Cottingham is known to have killed nine females between 1967 and 1980, attempted to kill four more, and has claimed to have killed up to 100 women.
While Rodney Alcala committed five killings in that state between 1977 and 1979, and after pleading guilty to two homicides in New York in 1971 and 1977, he was given an additional term of 25 years to life. Alcala’s involvement in eight murders has been proven, but the actual number of victims is still unknown and may be far higher.
More than 1,000 images of women, young girls, and boys, many of them in sexually explicit situations, were gathered by Alcala. He was accused of killing a woman who was recognized in one of his images in 1977 in 2016. Alcala is known to have physically abused one other person for a photograph, and authorities have surmised that additional victims may have been raped or killed. (Source: Criminal Minds Fandom)
Image from Grunge