The case of the woman who befriended the murderer who beheaded her mother to solve other crimes

Richard Cottingham murdered Jennifer Weiss’s mother in 1979. Several decades later Weiss wrote letters to the perpetrator, who was in prison, and managed to establish a friendship with him. The ultimate goal was to get Cottingham to confess to other crimes. And he achieve it.

In 1979 Cottingham murdered Deedeh Goodarzi, Weiss’s mother. The crime was atrocious: he beheaded her, cut off her hands; parts of the skull were never located.

This was not an isolated crime and, in fact, Cottingham was wanted for nine other femicides in New Jersey, United States. These were crimes to which the investigators could not find answers, until Weiss decided to collaborate with the clarification of the cases and it occurred to him that the best way was to create a bond of friendship with the perpetrator.

“The magnitude of what he did is unfathomable, but I became friends with Richard for the sake of my mother and for my search (…) I am doing these for the mothers who lost their daughters and my own mother. And for these girls their lives ended one night or one day because of Richard playing God. I won’t be calm until we find out who they were. That’s why I do what I do, ”Jennifer said in an interview with

The victim’s daughter says that when she began to find out more details about her mother’s crime, he also began to reveal more information about other femicides and estimates that there are about 75 cases that have not yet been resolved.

To date Cottingham has confessed to committing murders every two weeks for 13 years. However, Richard has only been charged with 11 murders from a list that could add up to as many as 105.

He has been known as “The Torso Killer” and was staged in a Netflix documentary called Netflix Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer.

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