(NEW YORK) — Prosecutors charged alleged serial killer Rex Heuermann on Tuesday with murdering Maureen Brainard-Barnes, who disappeared in 2007 while working as an escort, linking him to her death through DNA and other evidence.
Defense attorney Michael Brown entered a not guilty plea on Heuermann’s behalf to the second-degree murder charge in Suffolk County Court. Heuermann was once again remanded to Suffolk County jail, and the judge set the next court date for Feb. 6.
The former architect has already been charged with murdering three other escorts on New York’s Long Island. Like Megan Waterman, Amber Costello and Melissa Barthelemy, the remains of Brainard-Barnes were found in a desolate spot along the ocean near Gilgo Beach.
The New York City architect who lived on Long Island with his wife and children was arrested in July 2023.
“Today, Defendant Rex A. Heuermann stands before this Court charged by the Grand Jury in a Superseding Indictment, which incorporates not only the above counts, but the additional charge of: MURDER IN THE SECOND DEGREE, in violation of New York State Penal Law Section 125.25(1), a class A-I violent felony for the death of Maureen Brainard-Barnes on or about July 9, 2007,” Suffolk County prosecutors wrote in a court filing.
Prosecutors said Heuermann’s now-estranged wife, Asa Ellerup, and his children were out of town when Brainard-Barnes disappeared and was killed, fitting an alleged pattern of Heuermann being home alone when the other three killed.
“As set forth in Exhibit A, travel and cellular telephone billing records had previously established that Defendant Heuermann’s wife and children were out of the state during the disappearances and murders of three of the four victims, specifically, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello,” prosecutors said, citing documents they obtained during a search of a storage unit leased by Heuermann.
The documents include a credit card statement that shows Ellerup checked into an Atlantic City hotel July 6, 2007 and stayed through July 20.
“Based on the foregoing, the murders of all four victims occurred at times when Defendant Heuermann’s wife and children were traveling out of state, which allowed Defendant Heuermann unfettered time to execute his plans for each victim without any fear that his family would uncover or learn of his involvement in these crimes,” prosecutors said.
The new filing also revealed that prosecutors seized two phones from Heuermann at the time of his arrest that they said were held by him “in fictitious names and used for illicit activities.” Prosecutors said Heuermann “utilized these phones in furtherance of hundreds of contacts with sex-workers between 2020 and 2023.”
Prosecutors additionally revealed Tuesday they seized hundreds of electronic devices from Heuermann’s Massapequa Park home and Manhattan office following his arrest.
Heuermann used the devices to search for the deceased victims and their family members; the status of the instant investigation; for software that would assist in wiping or erasing data from computers and other similar digital devices and purchase digital masking and forensic wiping tools, prosecutors said.
“Defendant’s devices also contained the following: A collection of violent, bondage, and torture pornography preceding, during, and subsequent to the disappearances and murders of the aforementioned victims between 2007 and 2010; and prostitution-related searches preceding, during, and subsequent to the disappearances and murders of the aforementioned victims between 2007 and 2010,” the filing says
The new court filing also outlines the lengths prosecutors went to obtain DNA from Heuermann’s family, including tracking his adult daughter, Victoria, on a Long Island Railroad train drinking from a gold-colored energy drink can.
Investigators saw her toss the can into the trash. They recovered it and took it for analysis, prosecutors said.
In the indictment from Heuermann’s July 2023 arrest, investigators said he was the “prime suspect” in Brainard-Barnes’ death. There are six other Gilgo Beach victims whose deaths remain unsolved.
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