Rex Heuermann, the so-called Gilgo Beach murderer and prime suspect in the murder of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello, appeared in court on September 27 for a pre-trial hearing.
Heuermann is charged with first- and second-degree murder in connection with the deaths of the three victims.
In what some prosecutors are hailing as the strongest evidence to date, the buccal swab that was taken from Heuermann matches the DNA that authorities had previously collected from a pizza crust while he had been under surveillance.
The amount of evidence against Heuerman was already daunting even before today’s hearing, the defense had well over 8000 pages of evidence and today they were given an additional 5,000.
This included grand jury testimony and exhibits, property warrants, subpoenas, DNA reports, and memo books obtained by officers who had carefully combed Heuermann’s home and storage units in the days following his arrest.
Heuermann spoke for the first time in court today. Judge Mazzei asked the alleged murderer: “Have you been taking advantage to review materials in jail?”
To which Heuermann said: “Yes.”
The judge asked: “For how long a day are they allowing you to do that?”
And Heuermann answered: “Up to four hours, and I have been averaging up to two to three hours.”
The most clamorous news revealed today concerned the result of the DNA test from the alleged killer’s cheek swab. In January, police recovered a pizza box that he had tossed into a garbage can in Manhattan. Shortly after, they were able to match the DNA from the leftover pie with a sample that was taken from the burlap sack that the killer used to conceal Waterman’s body.
The court-ordered DNA swab he gave last week came back as a positive link to the one found in the contents of the pizza box. This was particularly significant because as “direct DNA,” that is– taken directly from the suspect– it closes the loop of DNA evidence that connects the pizza box to the victim and then to Rex Heuermann.
Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney was indeed confident that it would prove to be the case. “The surveillance team had observed the pizza box and were confident that that was the DNA, that the DNA profile would be consistent with the defendant because he left that material inside the box”, he stated today. “And so, the buccal swab just erases all doubt,” he added.
Tierney also added that the investigation is not over yet. “We’re working on the fourth Gilgo victim. And now we’ve expanded our investigation to include other bodies that were recovered in that area. And we’ll speak about that when and if we’re prepared to be charged.”
Asa Ellerup, his wife, was not present in the court room today.