Imprisoned Gilgo Beach serial killing suspect Rex Heuermann wants his weapons back.
The hulking defendant’s lawyer asked for the return of the more than 280 firearms recovered during a search of the accused predator’s Massapequa Park, L.I., home to help his cash-strapped family survive their currently dire financial straits
Attorney Sabato Caponi argued in the Thursday court filing that Heuermann’s wife and two children could sell off the weapons to raise some funds, asserting the assortment of arms have “significant financial value.”
“The release of the seized property … will provide a temporary but urgently needed respite from the financial hardships affecting the Heuermann family,” he wrote.
“The Heuermann family is accused of no wrongdoing or criminal conduct … The financial hardships currently being suffered (are) due in no small part to the wantonly destructive and reckless manner in which the Suffolk County Police Department executed the search warrants.”
The weapons were seized during a 12-day law enforcement scouring of his suburban home for evidence, with Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Opisso asking in Sept. 7 court papers for authorization to turn over “any firearms, magazines, cases, attachments, ammunition, bullet fragments and shell casings” found inside the Heuermann family residence to the Nassau County police.
Caponi, in his court filing, wrote he “prays that this Court deny the relief sought by the prosecution … and order the immediate release of the seized property to the designee of Rex Heuermann.”
The defendant could possibly face gun charges in Nassau County, where Heuermann was a longtime resident. Prosecutors had previously said the weapons cache included some possibly kept illegally in violation of gun laws, with Nassau officials left to decide on any prosecution since the defendant lived in the county.
A list of weapons found inside the suburban home mentioned at least 20 assault rifles along with a number of vintage weapons, some dating to the 1800s, including vintage guns dating back to the Civil War and World War I that were passed down to the defendant by family members.
The 60-year-old suspect, accused of murdering three prostitutes whose remains were found 13 years ago on Long Island, remains behind bars after authorities arrested him in Manhattan on July 13 for the unsolved killings.
Authorities also identified Heuermann as the prime suspect in a similar fourth murder on Long Island. He was linked to the slayings by cell phone data, a car once owned by the suspect and DNA evidence lifted from a pizza crust, officials said.
Tania Lopez, spokesperson for the Suffolk County District attorney, had no comment on the court filing and Nassau County DA spokesman Brendan Broch also declined to comment.
Heuermann faces three counts of first-degree murder and three more of second-degree murder in the slayings of sex workers Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello in the long-cold investigations.
The defendant’s wife Asa Ellerup has filed for divorce from Heuermann, with her attorney suggesting the guns were community property. In addition to the weapons, authorities found boxes of ammunition, survivalist gear and gunpowder inside the home.
Caponi cited the likely long wait for his client to face a trial in the killings in making his appeal for the release of the weapons cache to his family.
“Although these items would most assuredly be returned to Rex Heuermann once he has been acquitted of the charges pending against the court, that eventuality may not come to fruition for many months,” he wrote.
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