Gilgo Beach suspect’s lawyer defends client’s alleged twisted search history
Michael Brown, the attorney for suspected serial killer Rex Heuermann, answered a question about the twisted search history prosecutors allegedly found on his client’s devices.
Michael Brown, the attorney for suspected serial killer Rex Heuermann, answered a question about the “sadistic” search history prosecutors allegedly found on his client’s devices.
Investigators said they found dozens of search terms – including “torture redhead porn,” “girl with face beat up,” “chubby 10 year old girl crying,” and “Asian twink tied up” – on a burner phone and email account they seized under the fake name “Thomas Hawk.” They also found more than 200 searches regarding other known serial killers and the Gilgo Beach case itself.
Heuermann is now accused of killing four women whose remains were found in the brush along a quiet stretch of Ocean Parkway in 2010 – Melissa Barthelemy, 24; Megan Waterman, 22; Amber Costello, 27; and Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25.
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Suspected Long Island serial killer Rex Heuermann, right, appears inside Judge Timothy P. Mazzei’s courtroom with his attorney Michael Brown, left, at Suffolk County Court in Riverhead on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. Prosecutors allege that Heuermann made “thousands of searches related to sex workers, sadistic, torture-related pornography and child pornography.” (James Carbone/Newsday via Pool)
“Searching the internet, ask yourselves what you search on your computers and your phones,” Brown told reporters Tuesday after prosecutors alleged they found a series of queries for violent pornography on Heuermann’s devices in new court filings.
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WATCH: Gilgo Beach suspect’s lawyer defends client’s alleged twisted search history
“One thing leads to another – you see a show about something, you start searching, and they talk about how somebody got killed,” he said. “You start searching, and then they talk about another way, and you start searching. Think about if they looked at your own personal search history, how all of a sudden you’re guilty because of your search history?”
Rex Heuermann’s estranged wife Asa Ellerup, center, and daughter Victoria Heuermann, left, depart the Suffolk County Courthouse in Riverhead, New York, on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. Ellerup filed for divorce shortly after her husband’s arrest in the Gilgo Beach murders. (Robert Miller for Fox News Digital)
Brown also downplayed new DNA testing that prosecutors presented as major new evidence in their case against Heuermann and revealed detectives had been surveilling his client for a year and a half before the arrest on July 13, 2023.
Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said “cutting edge” advances in “snip” testing, the shorthand name for single nucleotide polymorphisms, led to an overwhelming match in the case that he called the “gold standard.”
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The “Gilgo Four,” as Heuermann’s alleged victims have become known, were among 11 bodies discovered after police received a haunting 911 call from Shannan Gilbert in 2010.
Police kicked off a search for her near Oak Beach, a few miles to the east, and repeatedly found unrelated bodies.
Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney, flanked by Gilgo Beach task force leaders and relatives of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, speaks to the media during a press conference at the Suffolk County Courthouse in Riverhead, New York on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. Accused serial killer Rex Heuermann appeared in court to face an additional murder charge for the death of Brainard-Barnes. (Robert Miller for Fox News Digital)
While investigators eventually declared Gilbert’s death an accident, both Brown and the lawyer for her family, John Ray, continue to cast doubt on that conclusion.
Regardless, the sheer number of bodies in the same general area rattled the community, and police went years without a suspect before Heuermann’s surprise arrest in July.
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Those other deaths remain under investigation by a grand jury, Tierney said Tuesday.
“With regard to those other bodies and those other murders, the task force will continue to investigate those cases,” he added.
The “Gilgo Four” clockwise from top left: Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello. The background shows a wooden cross in the marsh next to Gilgo Beach, New York, where their remains were found in the brush just yards from Ocean Parkway. (Suffolk County Police Department/Mega for Fox News Digital)
Counter-clockwise from left: Amber Lynn Costello, 27, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, Megan Waterman, 22 and Melissa Barthelemy, 24, disappeared after meeting with a client on Craigslist. The remains of the women were found in December 2010 at Gilgo Beach on Long Island. (Suffolk County Police Department)
Heuermann faces three counts of first-degree murder and four counts of second-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail and due back in court Feb. 6.
Heuermann was born and raised in Massapequa Park, New York.
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He bought his childhood home from his mother in the 1990s and moved his family there.
Neighbors described him as a quiet businessman who carried a briefcase to the nearby train station, wearing a three-piece suit to head into his Manhattan office, where he was an architect.
Michael Ruiz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @mikerreports