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News / Nation & World

Estranged wife gives Gilgo Beach slaying suspect ‘the benefit of the doubt,’ visits him in jail

By Associated Press
Published: March 14, 2024, 11:30am

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (AP) — The estranged wife of Long Island serial killing suspect Rex Heuermann says she believes he is not capable of the crimes he is accused of and she visits him in jail weekly despite pending divorce proceedings.

Asa Ellerup, who filed for divorce in the days after Heuermann’s July 13, 2023, arrest for three of the long-unsolved killings known as the Gilgo Beach slayings, told Newsday in a statement issued through her lawyer Wednesday, “I will listen to all of the evidence and withhold judgment until the end of trial.”

Ellerup added, “I have given Rex the benefit of the doubt, as we all deserve.”

The 60-year-old Heuermann, who worked as an architect in Manhattan, was initially charged with killing Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello. He was charged with killing a fourth victim, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, in January.

The four women’s remains were found along a quarter-mile (400-meter) stretch of parkway in the Gilgo Beach area of Jones Beach Island in 2010. Additional searching turned up the remains of six more adults and a toddler. No arrests have been made in the deaths of the latter victims.

Heuermann has pleaded not guilty to the four killings he is charged with and is awaiting trial in jail.

In her statement issued through attorney Robert Macedonio, Ellerup said her “heartfelt sympathies go out to the victims and their families.”

Despite Ellerup’s claims of weekly visits, Suffolk County Jail spokesperson Victoria DiStefano said jail records indicate fewer visits.

“We have record of Asa Ellerup being logged into the facility 7 times,” DiStefano said in an email to Newsday.

Ellerup, who has been married to Heuermann for 27 years, is under contract with NBC Universal to participate in a documentary about the crimes.