A Long Island carpenter was found guilty this week of murdering two women in the 1990s, as local police and the FBI continue to investigate a possible serial killer in the same area.
According to Pix 11, John Bittrolff, 51, was convicted of double murder on Wednesday and faces 50 years to life in prison. The jury had deadlocked three times before coming to a verdict, after seven days of deliberation.
— Mary Murphy (@MurphyPIX) July 5, 2017
Bittrolff’s victims were both believed to be prostitutes: Rita Tangredi, 31, was found dead in a housing complex in 1993 and Colleen McNamee, 20, was found killed in 1994 in a nearby wooded area on Long Island. According to the New York Times, both were strangled and beaten so severely that brain tissue leaked from their broken skulls.
The carpenter lived in Manorville, New York, where remains of a presumed victim of the Long Island Serial Killer were found ten years after Bittrolff’s victims died. Bittrolff was not connected to the homicides until 2014, when his brother was arrested on a probation violation, and investigators entered his DNA into a statewide database. It was a partial match for the victims of the cold case murder.
Investigators then looked to Bittrolff’s family members for a stronger match. They obtained John Bittrolff’s DNA from trash he left outside of his home, and took a second sample from a cup of water after he came in for questioning.
His genetic material was a match to DNA found on the murdered women. But even after Bittrolff’s conviction, his attorney, William Keahon, insists that the DNA alone isn’t enough to convict his client of murder and says he will appeal.
“This is just the beginning of the fight,” Keahon told Pix 11. “The bottom line is that proof of sexual intercourse doesn’t mean murder.”
Feature photo: Handout