Tag Archive | "murder"

Arraignment Thursday for Manorville Man Accused of Murdering Two Prostitutes, Suspected in Third North Sea Case

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John Bittrolff and the women he is accused of murdering, Rita Tangredi and Colleen McNamee. Photo courtesy Suffolk County Police Department.

John Bittrolff and the women he is accused of murdering, Rita Tangredi and Colleen McNamee. Photo courtesy Suffolk County Police Department.

By Tessa Raebeck

John Bittrolff, the Manorville man who was arrested last week and accused of killing two women whose bodies were found dumped in the woods within months of each other in late 1993, and suspected in a third case in which the woman’s body was discovered in North Sea, will be arraigned on a grand jury indictment on Thursday, July 31.

John Bittrolff is also suspected in the murder of Sandra Costilla, whose body was found in North Sea in 1993. Photo courtesy Suffolk County Police Department.

John Bittrolff is also suspected in the murder of Sandra Costilla, whose body was found in North Sea in 1993. Photo courtesy Suffolk County Police Department.

The 48-year-old husband and father was arrested by detectives last week and charged with two counts of second-degree murder. A carpenter who has lived with his family in a Brookhaven Town home for over a decade, Mr. Bittrolff was connected to the crimes through DNA evidence, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said.

During a brief court appearance in Riverhead on Tuesday, July 28, Judge James Hurson reviewed Mr. Bittrolff’s bail and ordered him to continue to be held without bail in the Suffolk County Jail in Riverhead.

Judge Hurson will unseal the grand jury indictment at Thursday’s arraignment.

The body of Mr. Bittrolff’s first alleged victim, Rita Tangredi, 31, was found beaten and strangled to death on November 2, 1993 in a wooded area off of Esplanade Drive in East Patchogue. Ms. Tangredi lived in East Patchogue and was known by police to be a prostitute.

Colleen McNamee, 20, of Holbrook, was found dead nearly three months later on January 30, 1994. Ms. McNamee, also believed by authorities to be a prostitute, was likewise beaten, strangled to death and left naked in the woods, near the William Floyd Parkway in Shirley.

The murders were considered to be cold cases until DNA evidence obtained from Mr. Bittrolff’s brother, Timothy Bittrolff, who was arrested in 2013 and convicted of assault, was found to be similar to DNA found at the crime scenes. John Bittrolff was also charged with assault in 1990.

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said Mr. Bittrolff might also be responsible for the murder of Sandra Costilla, a woman from Queens whose body was discovered in November 1993 off of Old Fish Cove Road in the North Sea area of Southampton.

The Suffolk County Police Department released this 1990 mug shot of John Bittrolff to show what he looked like at the time of the murders.

The Suffolk County Police Department released this 1990 mug shot of John Bittrolff to show what he looked like at the time of the murders.

All three women were strangled and beaten before they were killed. District Attorney Spota said the positioning of their bodies, the manner in which they were killed and a particular item of clothing that was missing from all three bodies make Mr. Bittrolff a suspect in Ms. Costilla’s murder.

Although Ms. Costilla was not a prostitute, Robert Clifford, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said she “led a similar lifestyle.”

Mr. Bittrolff has not been charged in the Costilla case.

“The possible connection between these two murders and the homicide of Ms. Costilla is under investigation at this time,” District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a press release.

Man Charged in 1990s Murders of Two Women, Suspected in Third Murder of Woman Found in North Sea

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JohnBittrolff

John Bittrolff of Manorville is accused of murdering two women in the 1990s and suspected in a third murder, in which the woman’s body was found in North Sea. Mugshot courtesy Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

By Tessa Raebeck

A carpenter from Manorville who has been charged with the murders of two women in the 1990s is a also suspect in the death of Sandra Castilla, whose body was found in North Sea in Southampton in December 1993.

John Bittrolff, 48, who is married with two children, was arrested Monday, July 21, and charged with two counts of murder in the second degree. He was arraigned in Central Islip and ordered held without bail.

Mr. Bittrolff is accused of murdering Rita Tangredi, 31, of East Patchogue and Colleen McNamee, 20, of Holbrook, who were both strangled and beaten. They were killed in November 1993 and late January 1994, respectively. Both women are believed by authorities to have been prostitutes.

“The cause and manner of death of both of these women are exactly the same,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a press conference Tuesday, July 22. “There are significant evidentiary similarities between these two murders, Tangredi and McNamee, that he is now charged with and the murder of Sandra Castilla, whose body was found in North Sea in the Town of Southampton.”

The body of Ms. Castilla, 28, of Queens, who was strangled, was found in the woods on November 20, 1993 off Old Fish Cove Road.

The possible connection of Mr. Bittrolff to her murder is still under investigation, according to authorities.

According to Mr. Spota’s spokesman, Robert Clifford, Ms. Castilla “was not a prostitute but led a similar lifestyle.”

Mr. Bittrolff was charged after his brother Timothy submitted his own DNA evidence to the state police database. The DNA was matched to samples found at the crime scenes and police confirmed that John Bittrolff is the killer of both Ms. Tangredi and Ms. McNamee, Mr. Spota said.

“I just feel really relieved, finally,” Ms. Tangredi’s son, Anthony Tangredi, told reporters at the press conference.

Authorities do not believe Mr. Bittrolff to be the serial killer known as the Long Island Serial Killer or the Gilgo Killer who is believed to have murdered 10 to 14 sex workers over a period of 20 years, with the most recent discoveries of remains found in the spring of 2011. That killer dumped his victim’s bodies along Ocean Parkway, near Gilgo Beach and Oak Beach in Suffolk County and Jones Beach State Park in Nassau County.

“The evidence recovered from the bodies of Tangredi and McNamee, the manner in which their bodies were found and the crime scenes are unique to them and very and distinctly different from the Gilgo crime scenes,” Mr. Spota said.

Murder-Suicide Investigation Closes in East Hampton

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With no apparent motive yet revealed, Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad is continuing the investigation of what appears to be a murder-suicide in East Hampton early Monday morning.

Just before 6 a.m. on Monday, August 18, East Hampton Town Police responded to the Cedar Trail, Northwest Woods residence of Lester and Georgina Stockel, both 64. According to East Hampton Town Police Chief Todd Sarris, the department had received three 9-1-1 calls from the home that morning. Sarris said two were hang-up calls, but that police were able to verify the 28 Cedar Trail address. During the third call, said Sarris, a male got on the phone and said shots were fired at the residence.

Two officers responded to the home, which was locked, prompting police to make a forced entry through a back door.

After entering the home, police said they discovered the couple in their upstairs bedroom, both sustaining a single gunshot wound. According to Sarris, Lester Stockel was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:52 a.m., while Georgina Stockel was discovered in critical condition. Both gunshot wounds were to the head.

“She was still breathing,” said Sarris.

Georgina Stockel was taken to Southampton Hospital before being transferred to Stony Brook University Medical Center. Sarris said it was his understanding that she died en route to Stony Brook at 9:18 a.m.

According to Sarris, based on evidence found at the scene, it appears Lester Stockel shot his wife before taking his own life. He added that similar to published reports about the incident, it was his understanding Lester Stockel was found with a gun in his hand. According to police, the weapon was a nine-millimeter semi-automatic, although it is unclear if the gun was registered to Stockel.

Sarris confirmed that his department had not received calls from the Stockel residence prior to Monday morning’s incident and that it was his understanding from Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad that a motive was still unclear and the couple appeared to have a positive relationship.

Reportedly, the Cedar Trail home was the Stockel’s summer residence. The couple resided full-time in Verona, New Jersey. Lester Stockel was the CEO of CashFlex, a credit card receipt processing company founded in Philadelphia, according to a news release regarding the company’s merger with another processing firm. He reportedly made millions as a businessman. While no longer CEO for CashFlex, he had most recently been employed as a consultant in New Jersey.

Suffolk County Police Homicide Squad is continuing its investigation of the crime at the Stockel home.

This is the second murder-suicide reported in East Hampton, following the deaths of Charles and Beatrice Smith, both 84, who perished in November in a “tragedy” East Hampton Town and Suffolk County Police said could have been connected to the couple’s ill-health. According to police Charles allegedly shot his wife in their East Hampton Village home before turning the gun on himself.

“In my 38 years of law enforcement, I cannot remember a murder-suicide in the town prior to that incident,” said Sarris of the Smith deaths.