Rape, sodomy, strangulation, stabbing, murder, and dismemberment. So were some of Joel David Rifkin's favorite "hobbies" that he inflicted on mostly drug addicted or alcoholic prostitutes from 1988 to 1993. Police finally caught up to Rifkin on June 28, 1993, when state troopers spotted him driving his pickup truck without license plates on the Southern State Parkway. A high-speed chase ended in Mineola, New York, when he crashed into a utility pole directly in front of the courthouse where he eventually stood trial. Troopers detected a foul odor from the back of the truck. It came from the corpse of his final victim: prostitute and dancer Tiffany Bresciani, 22. A peek inside the tarp revealed the woman's decomposing body. Motorist Joel Rifkin, now in handcuffs, helped identify the corpse as 22-year-old Tiffany Bresciani. She was a prostitute, he told the officers. I had sex with her, and then I killed her. He was on his way to dump the body near Republic Airport, he explained, when he was spotted by Ruane and Spaargaren. The case was open-and-shut...but it was far from simple.
In custody, Rifkin soon began confessing to other homicides, a total of 17, including Bresciani. The interviews he gave to the police were so horrifying it sickened even the most seasoned officers and detectives. In The Charming Drifter, author Brian Lee Tucker offers an inside look into the mind of one of the most vicious serial killers in New York history and a nightmarish glimpse into the final moments of his victim's lives.
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