Joel Rifkin, New York’s most prolific serial killer responsible for the deaths of 17 women, actually spoke of hitting one of his victims up to 30 times with an artillery shell, strangling her, and then using an X-Acto. knife ‘like a scalpel’ to chop up her body, which he likened to ‘a job’.
The chilling, never-before-heard graphic details of Rifkin’s violent exploits, as told by him to his old college friend from prison, can be seen in Oxygen’s new special, Rifkin on Rifkin: Private Confessions of a Serial Killer, which aired Saturday.
The true crime documentary is part of Oxygen’s ‘Serial Killer Week’, which runs until Sunday.
Retired detective and author Robert Mladinich (left) is depicted in the Oxygen documentary Rifkin on Rifkin: Private Confessions of a Serial Killer. Mladinich interviewed serial killer Joel Rifkin, who was his friend in college, in 1999 and recorded their conversation
True crime documentary about Rifkin is part of Oxygen’s ‘Serial Killer Week,’ which runs through April 18
Rifkin admitted to murdering 17 women, most of them sex workers, between 1987 and 1993. He was eventually convicted of nine charges of second-degree murder and sentenced to 203 years in prison.
In 1999, while serving his sentence at Attica Correctional Facility in Upstate New York, Rifkin agreed to sit for an interview with Robert Mladinich, a retired police detective he knew from college.
Mladinich recorded his conversation with Rifkin, which later served as the basis for his 2001 book
“I must have hit her 20, 30 times until my arms got tired,” Mladinich says of the recording, referring to a victim. “It was with a howitzer I picked up at a flea market for about 25 cents, 50 cents.”
Rifkin explains that he wielded the heavy piece of ammunition “with two hands like a baseball bat,” adding, “I just lost control.”
To Rifkin’s surprise, the victim survived the savage beating and got up, saying that he strangled the woman “out of panic.”
When asked how he felt after the murder, Rifkin replies, “There were times when I became very worried about it. There were times when it made me paranoid. Er, there were times when it was fun. ‘
Recalling his meeting with Rifkin, Mladinich says in the documentary that he was so “emotionless” and “factual” about the heinous crimes he had committed that it didn’t seem like he liked to talk about it.
Mladinich described his former friend as completely disconnected from ‘reality’.
As the interview progresses, Mladinich asks Rifkin to say what happened after he carried the strangled woman’s body to the basement of his family’s house on Long Island.
“Um, X-Acto knife …” Rifkin replies.
Joel Rifkin, now aged 62, murdered 17 women between 1989 and 1993 and was sentenced to 203 years in prison in 1994. He is photographed after his arrest in June 1993
“Can you chop off a head with an X-Acto knife?” Mladinich asks.
To which Rifkin responds, “It works just like a scalpel.”
He goes on to talk about the process of breaking up in an emotionless tone, telling the ex-cop that he had “put the two arms in one bucket, two legs in the pan and the head in another bucket.”
Mladinich then asks if the gruesome trial bothered him at all.
‘No’, he replies, ‘it was as if it had to happen. I saw it as a job. Making it [the body] smaller so you can get rid of it, and I did. ‘
Mladinich says in the documentary that Rifkin did not seem content to tell him about the murders, and that he did not care what his opinion was of him.
Jenny Soto, 23, was Rifkin’s 14th known victim. Her body was discovered in 1992
Rifkin, then a 34-year-old unemployed gardener living with his mother and sister on Long Island, was arrested by police on June 28, 1993 for driving a pickup truck without a license plate.
Rifkin fled the traffic stop and led the police on a chase, which ended when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a post. He confessed to 17 murders after police wrapped a woman’s decomposing body in a blue tarpaulin in the back of the vehicle.
Rifkin’s latest victim was later identified as Tiffany Bresciani, a 22-year-old aspiring Louisiana actress who worked as a stripper to support her drug addiction.
Rifkin told police he picked up sex workers, all of them small and slim, in New York City, had sex with them, murdered them, hacked some to pieces, and then dumped their bodies in the city and suburbs.
In Rifkin’s cluttered bedroom on Long Island, police found a stash of women’s items: bras, panties, shoes, a sweater. There was an earring, a brooch, a women’s driver’s license, and a welfare, credit, and library card for both men and women.
Rifkin’s mother, Jeanne (light pants), and sister, Jan (black dress), said they knew nothing about the murders. The family is pictured in 1993
New York state police officers remove several items from Joel Rifkin’s garage in East Meadow, New York, in June 1993
His mother, Jeanne Rifkin, and sister, Jan Rifkin, said they knew nothing about the murders, some of which were committed in the home they all shared in East Meadow.
Despite the gruesome revelations about Rifkin, his family assisted him, visited him and summoned him to prison, and attended his sentencing, apologizing to the families of the victims.
‘He’s not bad. Neither do I, ”his sister told a New York Post reporter at the time. “All I can say is that I love my brother.”
Rifkin confessed to murdering 17 women and led police to the skeleton of a victim at the edge of New York City’s Kennedy International Airport in June 1993.
Two of Rifkin’s victims have not been identified to this day. In 2013, the head of a woman discovered on a New Jersey golf course was positively identified by DNA testing as the first known victim of the serial killer, 25-year-old Heidi Balch, whom he knew as “Susie.”
The other victims have been named as Julie Blackbird; Barbara Jacobs; Mary Ellen DeLucaYun Lee; Lorraine Orvieto; Mary Ann Holloman; Iris Sanchez; Anna Lopez; Violet O’Neill; Mary Catherine Williams; Jenny Sotto; Leah Evans and Lauren Marquez.
Rifkin, who is now 62, is currently incarcerated in the Clinton Correctional Facility in New York.