A lawyer for the suspected serial killer Rex Heuermann is opposing a request for a DNA swab, arguing in court papers prosecutors failed to meet probable cause standards to compel the 59-year-old Manhattan architect to do so.
As reported by the Long Island newspaper Newsday, the attorney, Danielle Coysh, said allegations against Heuermann could be read “as rising to the level of a reasonable suspicion”, but not as meeting standards that would compel her client to provide a DNA sample.
Heuermann, 59, was arrested on 14 July. He has pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree murder charges in the killings of three women: Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy and Amber Lynn Costello.
Their remains were found on Gilgo Beach, a secluded stretch of coastline in Long Island, New York, in December 2010.
Heuermann is also the “prime suspect” in the killing of another woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, whose remains were found near those of the other women.
All four sets of remains were found in the same spot, wrapped in burlap.
Prosecutors have said they linked Heuermann to one of the killings using mitochondrial DNA from a pizza crust and napkin from a discarded pizza box, and from hair on material used to “restrain and transport” a body.
Without a direct DNA sample, defense attorneys could argue at trial that DNA from the pizza crust and napkin are not from the suspect.
In court papers, Newsday said, Coysh said prosecutors had “no evidence establishing the defendant Rex A Heuermann actually ever came into contact” with the items in question.
The partial remains of another woman found on the same stretch of coastline have been identified 27 years after she went missing. The woman formerly referred to as “Jane Doe No 7” is now known to have been Karen Vergata. Her family last heard from her on Valentine’s Day 1996.
The identification is the latest in a series of killings that have produced 11 sets of human remains. Most have been identified. Not all are believed linked to the Gilgo Beach suspect. Authorities are “actively investigating” if Heuermann is linked to other unsolved cases.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/aug/09/gilgo-beach-serial-killer-suspect-dna-swab-lawyer Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect’s lawyer opposes request for DNA swab | Gilgo Beach serial killings