CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (PIX11) – The Suffolk County District Attorney revealed Tuesday afternoon it was DNA from the brother of accused prostitute killer, John Bittrolff, that led to Bittrolff's arrest for two, cold case killings from twenty years ago.
Timothy Bittrolff was arrested and convicted of criminal contempt in 2013.
He was required to give a DNA sample, to be entered in the New York State DNA database. The sample showed some kind of connection to DNA taken at the crime scene of two, Long Island murders: one in November 1993 and another in January 1994. Both of the victims were female prostitutes who were beaten and strangled and dumped nude, in the woods, in two areas of Suffolk County.
"The killer had to be a brother of the person who provided the DNA sample," Suffolk County District Attorney, Thomas Spota, told reporters Tuesday.
The DNA link led to 48 year old John Bittrolff, a carpenter and married father of two, from Manorville, Long Island.
"The biological evidence showed they shared the same mother and father," Spota added.
Once John Bittrolff's DNA was secured, "We confirmed from this defendant's DNA that he is the killer," Spota said.
31-year-old Rita Tangredi was found nude, beaten and strangled in a wooded area of East Patchogue on November 2, 1993.
Just under three months later, the nude body of 20-year-old Colleen McNamee was discovered in the woods near the William Floyd Parkway in Shirley.
The DNA retrieved at both crime scenes matched.
Both women were "uniquely positioned" in similar ways and both had the same article of clothing missing.
The DA said they're also looking at Bittrolff's possible connection to the murder of Sandy Castilla in December 1993, a month after Tangredi was found and month before McNamee was killed.
Ironically, John Bittrolff was arrested for assault in 1990 and convicted. He was 27 at the time and this was before DNA samples were mandatory in New York State, post criminal conviction.
If John Bittrolff had given his DNA sample in 1990, these murder cases would have been solved two decades ago.
His wife and other relatives shooed away reporters in court. His defense lawyer called him a family man.
One man yelled out, "We love him very much."
The two sisters of victim, Rita Tangredi, left court crying Tuesday. "God answers prayers," said one.
The other told PIX 11 News, "Today is my birthday, and this is like the best birthday present I could ever have."