Pros­e­cu­tor re­news in­ter­est in N.Y. se­rial killer case

Santa Fe New Mexican - - NATION - By 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 to con­sec­u­tive 25 years-to-life terms in prison this week 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.

Po­lice found the skull of a pros­ti­tute named Jes­sica Tay­lor, who was 20 when most of the rest of her body was found in a wooded area of Manorville shortly after she dis­ap­peared in 2003. Body parts found on Gilgo Beach were also linked to an­other corpse found in Manorville in 2000. That fe­male vic­tim has never been iden­ti­fied.

Be­fore he was jailed, Bit­trolff lived in Manorville, part of the vast Long Is­land pine bar­rens re­gion and the same ham­let where Tay­lor’s corpse and the body of one other woman were found.

In talk­ing about the bod­ies near Gilgo Beach, in­ves­ti­ga­tors have said it is un­likely one per­son killed all the vic­tims.

Joseph Pollini, a re­tired New York City po­lice de­tec­tive who in­ves­ti­gated cold case homi­cides, said he found it hard to be­lieve a pros­e­cu­tor would pub­licly con­nect Bit­trolff to the Gilgo Beach in­ves­ti­ga­tion on mere spec­u­la­tion.

“It’s highly un­likely a district at­tor­ney would put his neck out on a limb like that if he didn’t have some­thing to back it up,” he said.

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