Attorney John Ray alleges that the family of accused Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex A. Heuermann participated in the crimes, allegations refuted by the family. NewsdayTV's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: Newsday/A.J. Singh; NewsdayTV

Lawyers representing the family of accused Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex A. Heuermann on Thursday denied allegations floated by attorney John Ray suggesting Heuermann's daughter and estranged wife could be involved in the killings — something Suffolk County prosecutors say they have ruled out.

Robert Macedonio, the lawyer for Heuermann's estranged wife, Asa Ellerup, and Vess Mitev, the attorney representing Heuermann's adult children, Victoria and Christopher, called Ray's comments “defamatory” at a hastily called news conference just hours after Ray spoke to the news media outside his Stony Brook law firm and made several salacious suggestions.

“This is not a three-ring circus; this is a man charged with six homicides so far that is looking at life without parole,” said Macedonio, who is representing Ellerup in her ongoing divorce from Heuermann and negotiated a reported million-dollar deal for the family to appear in a documentary about the case. “His family — Asa, Victoria and Christopher, whatever happens to Rex, guilt or innocence — they are collateral damage. Their lives are forever ruined and are being further ruined by the actions of John Ray.”

Heuermann, 60, an architect from Massapequa Park, has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the deaths of six women — Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy Amber Lynn Costello, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Jessica Taylor and Sandra Costilla. He’s also been named as a suspect in the slaying of Valerie Mack.

Ray, his signature low-slung ponytail secured with a pink scrunchie, held up a series of poster boards with graphic images he said were posted on the now-deleted Tumblr account of Victoria, as he spoke before a bank of television news cameras. Ray said he sent a letter to Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney, offering to share his findings, but had not received a response.

Tierney spokeswoman Tania Lopez declined to comment Thursday.

Tierney, in court documents and in public comments, has said investigators have no evidence that Ellerup or her children had any involvement in the killings. Prosecutors have released documentation indicating that Ellerup and her children were outside New York State at the time of the killings. Victoria Heuermann was not yet born in 1993 when Costilla was killed.

Ray, until Heuermann’s arrest last July, was for more than a decade the face of legal advocacy in the then-unsolved spate of killings of mostly sex workers. He represents the estate of Shannan Gilbert, a Jersey City sex worker whose 2010 disappearance led to the discovery of several sets of human remains near Gilgo Beach. Gilbert’s death was ruled accidental by Suffolk police; Ray maintains she was murdered.

Gilbert’s sister Sherre Gilbert spoke out against Ray’s news conference on social media Thursday.

“I do NOT agree with anything John Ray is doing,” she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “This is disrespectful and I had no prior knowledge to this ‘press conference’ or the ‘evidence’ he was presenting today!”

She added in another post: “He should’ve been there to discuss Shannan’s case period! He cuts his nose to spite his face! I do not support nor condone his actions whatsoever!”

Asked about her posts, Ray said he attempted to contact his client before he held the news conference.

John Ray holds a news briefing on Thursday.

John Ray holds a news briefing on Thursday. Credit: A.J. Singh

Macedonio called Ray’s comments “reckless and irresponsible just to get media attention.”

“If [Rex Heuermann] is guilty of this, he took great detail to plan these homicides when she and the children were out of the jurisdiction,” Macedonio said. “I can assure you, the district attorney and the task force would not have said anything if they remotely thought she was involved in this.”

Mitev, who once worked in Ray’s office but is now estranged from his former boss, called Ray’s display “a kangaroo sideshow” and “an embarrassment.” His former employer is a “fourth-rate husker” who is “so bloodthirsty for the spotlight,” Mitev said.

“What we witnessed today was an unfortunate vortex drop down into the primordial ooze,” said Mitev. “If that's the evidence he has, it is nothing more than a frivolous side show and honestly we should all be ashamed of ourselves for giving it one ounce of attention.”

Presented with the comments from Macedonio and Mitev, Ray did not retreat from his allegations.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the day statements were made.

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