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Manorville man found guilty of murder in cold case killings

07/05/2017 6:19 PM |

A Manorville man accused of killing two women whose bodies were found in wooded areas in East Patchogue and Holbrook more than 20 years ago has been convicted of two counts of second-degree murder.

John Bittrolff is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 12 and could face up to 50 years in jail.

The nine-week trial ended June 26 and the Suffolk County jury gave its verdict Wednesday in Judge Richard Ambro’s courtroom.

Mr. Bittrolff was arrested July 21, 2014 in connection with the deaths of Rita Tangredi and Colleen McNamee. Police said at the time that DNA evidence obtained from Mr. Bittrolff’s brother connected him to the more than 20-year-old crimes.

Rita Tangredi-Beinlich, 31, was found dead Nov. 3, 1993 in the woods off Esplanade Drive near South Country Road in East Patchogue. Colleen McNamee, 20, was found dead Jan. 30, 1994 in the woods east of the William Floyd Parkway in North Shirley.

Mr. Bittrolff’s attorney, William Keahon, has argued that evidence destroyed by police in both murder cases could have identified other suspects.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla has said that while more than 50 suspects were tested, Mr. Bittrolff was the only one whose DNA matched what was found at both crime scenes. In addition, a forensics expert testified that both women had sex within a half hour of dying, he said.

Both women worked as prostitutes and were found nude, strangled and with severe heads injuries, Mr. Biancavilla said.

District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a statement, “The families of these women have been through an agonizing long wait for justice and during the trial they had to endure graphic testimony about the death of their loved one.  We hope the verdict today gives them some semblance of peace.”

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