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Gilgo Beach murders suspect Rex Heuermann appears in court on Long Island

Gilgo Beach murders suspect Rex Heuermann appears in court
Gilgo Beach murders suspect Rex Heuermann appears in court 02:26

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. -- Rex Heuermann has been behind bars for nine months since his 2023 arrest for the Gilgo Beach killings.

On Wednesday, he appeared in court, where his lawyers made new requests to the judge.

Asa Ellerup, the estranged wife Heuermann, exchanged glances with the suspected serial killer during the Riverhead court appearance. The former Manhattan architect appeared handcuffed in a wrinkled suit.

"He is not the guy. He said that over and over. He wants to get to trial," defense attorney Michael Brown said.

But first, Heuermann's attorneys want all files from the FBI pertaining to other possible leads and suspects that may have been dismissed as irrelevant.

"Our information and belief is the Suffolk County Police Department, especially with Chief [James] Burke in charge, and the FBI were butting heads. To some extent, I think Chief Burke was suppressing the investigation," Brown said.

Burke has since served time in prison for beating and coverup, and later was arrested for public lewdness. His attorney said the serial killer defense is grasping at straws.

Heuermann's lawyers also want more from the DA on a former police officer suspect with the initials "WH," after a belt with those initials was found on a victim. Prosecutors, however, maintain the "H" is for Heuermann.

"Seven thousand pages with regard to other persons of interest," DA Raymond Tierney said.

The DA said all of the prosecution's documentation is being disclosed -- DNA, lab reports, background checks, including Heuermann's 422 smart devices seized during raids that were allegedly used to contact and research sex workers.

"Digital devices, so you're talking about phones, laptops, CDs," Tierney said.

Heuermann has pleaded not guilty to the murders of four women whose nude bodies wrapped in burlap were found in shallow graves near Gilgo Beach in 2010.

Inside the Riverhead jail, Heuermann now visits chapel and invites prayer, according to Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr.

"Clerics or religious professionals come in to his housing area, and so it's more one-on-one in a more private location," Toulon said.

The judge wants all discovery documents -- a voluminous amount -- handed over to the defense by the end of July, before a trial date can even be considered for the accused Gilgo Beach serial killer.

The remains of 11 people were found near Gilgo Beach between 1996 and 2011. Heuermann has been linked to four victims.

Heuermann's alleged crimes

More than a decade after the women disappeared, Heuermann was arrested last July and charged as the elusive Gilgo Beach serial killer. Prosecutors said his DNA from discarded pizza and burner phone evidence tied him to Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello.

Additional charges were filed earlier this year in the death of his fourth alleged victim, Maureen Brainard-Barnes. The petite 25-year-old from Norwich, Connecticut was a mother of two. She was working as a Craigslist escort in Manhattan when she disappeared in July 2007. Her remains were found three years later near the other women's bodies.

Court documents claim Heuermann used burner phones to reach out to sex workers as recently as last year. They say the hundreds of electronic devices seized from his Massapequa Park home included Google searches for the Gilgo victims and software that would wipe or erase data.

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