Accused Gilgo Beach killer Rex Heuermann appears before Judge Timothy P....

Accused Gilgo Beach killer Rex Heuermann appears before Judge Timothy P. Mazzei in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead on Tuesday. Credit: James Carbone

Suffolk prosecutors turned over more than 2,500 pages of documents to the defense team representing alleged Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex A. Heuermann at a conference in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead on Tuesday.

Heuermann, wearing a dark blazer over a light blue shirt, made a brief appearance following a 32-minute conference in State Supreme Court Justice Timothy Mazzei’s chambers.

Heuermann's family was not in court during Tuesday's appearance. 

Assistant Suffolk County District Attorney Nicholas Santomartino told the judge the evidence turned over Tuesday includes photographs from the crime scenes where the bodies of the women Heuermann is accused of killing were located off Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach in 2020, plus autopsy reports, anthropological and DNA evidence as well as hundreds of hours of surveillance footage from around Heuermann’s home and a storage facility where he kept belongings.

“It’s quite voluminous,” Santomartino said of the list of evidence turned over in the form of a 2-terabyte hard drive and six discs to defense attorney Michael J. Brown.

Santomartino, who was joined at the prosecutor’s table by Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney, said the parties also agreed to a protective order to prevent distribution of that evidence to anyone beyond the attorneys working on the case. He said the district attorney’s office will also provide resources to help Brown review the evidence, if necessary.

Heuermann, 59, of Massapequa Park, did not speak during the appearance, and he mostly faced forward. Several family members of his three alleged victims were inside the courtroom for the appearance. 

Heuermann is due back in court Sept. 27.

Brown said the defense team will review all of the evidence prosecutors have now turned over. He said he has met with his client "numerous times" in the nearly three weeks since his arrest and he continues to deny that he is responsible for the killings.

"He's a man who's never been arrested before. He's maintained his innocence from the inception of this case," Brown said. "So he's doing the best he can at this point in time. And looking forward to having his day in court."

Asked if he might seek another venue to try the case, Brown said it was a possibility and expressed concern over how the case has been reported in the press.

"The press is reporting things to the public, sometimes it's accurate, sometimes it's skewed," the attorney said. "So now you have the people in Suffolk County who are going to be sitting on a jury, we only hope that they will be fair and impartial and that they won't be influenced by the members of the press. And that they can listen to the evidence and decide for themselves."

Brown said Heuermann has been in contact with his estranged wife since his arrest. He said his client is not suicidal.

Heuermann was ordered held without bail at his July 14 arraignment, where he pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree murder charges in the killings of three women — Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Lynn Costello — whose remains were found in the Gilgo Beach area in 2010.

Authorities have also named Heuermann, who is being held at the Suffolk County Jail in Riverhead, as the “prime suspect” in the killing of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, whose remains were found with the other three women — collectively known as the “Gilgo Beach four.” All of the victims were sex workers.

Tierney, in seeking to have Heuermann remanded, alleged that Heuermann was both a flight risk and a continuing danger as he allegedly continued to communicate with sex workers on burner phones, followed media accounts of the police investigation into the killings and had ties to Las Vegas and South Carolina, where he owns properties.

“For all those reasons, we feel that the urge — this defendant's urge to flee the jurisdiction is proving irresistible, and that's why we're asking for remand status,” Tierney said at Heuermann’s arraignment.

At Heuermann’s arraignment, Brown has said his client tearfully denied the allegations and has pointed to his lack of a prior criminal record.

“There is nothing about Mr. Heuermann that would suggest that he is involved in these incidents,” Brown said in a statement earlier this month.

In court papers, prosecutors have laid out their evidence, saying they first linked Heuermann to the killings last year through a witness statement identifying the driver of a Chevrolet Avalanche who had visited Costello’s home the day before she was last seen alive.

Gilgo Beach serial killings

More than a decade after the remains of 10 victims were found off Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach, Rex A. Heuermann has been charged with murder in three cases and is a prime suspect in a fourth.

Who is Rex Heuermann? The Massapequa Park architect lived in a rundown house and had strained interactions with neighbors. His second wife filed for divorce days after his arrest.

The victims: Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Lynn Costello were young women who were sex workers. Their bodies were discovered after another woman, Shannan Gilbert, made a frantic 911 call from the area that set off a police search.

The case: Investigators used DNA from pizza crust and stray hairs to tie the victims to Heuermann; burner cellphone data and a 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche also are key evidence in the investigation. 

The search: Police retrieved more than 200 guns from Heuermann's home and searched two Amityville storage facilities for evidence, including evidence connected to the victims.

Timeline: Key moments in the investigation, from the discovery of several sets of remains in 2010 to Heuermann’s arrest.

Full coverage of the Gilgo Beach serial killings

The witness' description of the driver matched that of Heuermann, who is 6-4 and weighs more than 240 pounds and was described as appearing like “an ogre.” Investigators also used cellphone site data and linked him through DNA to the victims using hair found on the victims’ remains that matched Heuermann’s DNA as recovered by authorities from a discarded pizza crust outside his Manhattan office, prosecutors said.

Tierney, who is planning to lead the group of prosecutors trying the case, has said that investigators seized a “massive amount” of potential evidence from Heuermann’s home after conducting a 12-day search. Investigators also searched two storage units rented by Heuermann, and seized the Chevrolet Avalanche that he owned while in South Carolina.

Among the items investigators recovered at the house were 279 firearms.

Asa Ellerup, the estranged wife of Rex Heuermann, speaks to...

Asa Ellerup, the estranged wife of Rex Heuermann, speaks to someone in a car at her Massapequa Park house on Monday. Credit: John Roca

After the search concluded, Heuermann’s estranged wife, Asa Ellerup, who filed for divorce after his arrest, returned to their home last week with Heuermann’s daughter and stepson.

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