Prose­cu­tor re­news in­ter­est in Long Is­land se­rial killer

As­sis­tant DA names man con­victed in beat­ing deaths of two pros­ti­tutes

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - MILWAUKEE WISCONSIN - FRANK ELTMAN

MINEOLA, N.Y. - For years, the thicket along a beach high­way on Long Is­land held a hor­ri­ble se­cret.

Hid­den from pass­ing driv­ers were the skele­tal re­mains of 10 peo­ple, mostly young women who had worked as pros­ti­tutes. Who killed them, and why, is a mys­tery that has vexed a slew of sea­soned homi­cide de­tec­tives.

The case took an in­trigu­ing turn when a vet­eran county prose­cu­tor be­came the first author­ity to pub­licly name a sus­pect in at least one of the deaths: John Bit­trolff, a Long Is­land car­pen­ter who was sen­tenced Tues­day to con­sec­u­tive 25years-to-life terms in prison for beat­ing two pros­ti­tutes to death in 1993 and 1994.

Robert Bian­cav­illa, an as­sis­tant dis­trict at­tor­ney in Suf­folk County, said af­ter the sen­tenc­ing that some of the re­mains found near Gilgo Beach “may be at­trib­uted to the hand­i­work of Mr. Bit­trolff.”

If au­thor­i­ties have ev­i­dence to back up their sus­pi­cions, though, they aren’t say­ing.

Bian­cav­illa de­clined to elab­o­rate. Suf­folk County po­lice of­fi­cials de­clined to com­ment. They last spoke pub­licly about the case nearly two years ago when they an­nounced de­tec­tives were work­ing with FBI pro­fil­ers on de­vel­op­ing leads.

Any sug­ges­tion that Bit­trolff had any­thing to do with the dead women is “laugh­able,” said his lawyer, Jonathan Man­ley.

Even a lawyer for the fam­ily of one of those linked to the case ex­pressed skep­ti­cism.

“To stir this pot when there’s no ev­i­dence is look­ing to eas­ily blame a con­victed killer and not have to per­form the in­ves­ti­ga­tion that is re­quired,” said John Ray, an at­tor­ney for the fam­ily of Shan­nan Gil­bert, whose dis­ap­pear­ance in 2010 sev­eral miles from Gilgo Beach trig­gered the hunt that ex­posed the larger mys­tery.

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