James Carbone/ReutersRex Heuermann attends a hearing in Suffolk County Superior Court in Riverhead

More than 40 firearms belonging to suspect in Gilgo Beach killings appear to be illegally possessed, prosecutors say

By Mark Morales, CNN

(CNN) — More than 40 firearms and 10 high-capacity magazines that belonged to a suspect in New York’s Gilgo Beach killings appear to be illegally possessed, prosecutors said in a court filing Tuesday in Suffolk County.

The firearms came to light after lawyers for Rex Heuermann, charged with murder in the deaths of three women whose bodies were found on Long Island’s Gilgo Beach more than a decade ago, petitioned the court to get his seized guns back as part of an attempt to sell them.

Prosecutors have argued that 280 firearms that investigators seized from Heuermann’s Massapequa Park home this year – including assault rifles, handguns and antique weapons – should go to Nassau County investigators for further analysis, records show.

“At least 26 unregistered handguns, 15 unregistered assault weapons, and 10 high-capacity magazines appear to have been possessed in the defendant’s home in violation of Penal Law Article 265,” Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Opisso wrote in Tuesday’s filing.

The weapons have been part of a legal tug of war between investigators and Heuermann since Suffolk County police took them during a search of his home following his arrest in July, court records show.

The guns have significant financial value and could be sold to “provide a temporary but urgently needed respite from the financial hardships afflicting the Heuermann family,” Heuermann’s defense attorney Sabato Caponi wrote in a previously filed motion.

Suffolk County prosecutors argued that the weapons should go to Nassau County because some of them appeared “to have been in violation” of New York state gun laws, according to a motion filed in September.

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In Tuesday’s filing, Opisso argued that since Heuermann is now facing murder charges, he no longer has a firearms license.

“Initially, he has failed to demonstrate that he is legally entitled to the relief he seeks given the suspension of his pistol license by Nassau County,” according to the ruling from the Suffolk County Supreme Court.

Heuermann is due back in court in November, when he is expected to receive evidence to review.

Heuermann, a 59-year-old architectural consultant from Massapequa Park, was arrested in July and is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Melissa Barthelemy in 2009 and Megan Waterman and Amber Costello in 2010, according to Suffolk County prosecutors.

The discovery of the women’s remains near each other in December 2010 on or near Gilgo Beach, and the killings of other people in the area, brought nationwide attention and prompted the search for a possible serial killer.

He has pleaded not guilty through his attorney.

Heuermann was first identified as a potential suspect in early 2022, shortly after a multiagency task force was formed to examine cold cases involving nearly a dozen sets of human remains found along Long Island’s South Shore between 2010 and 2011, including four victims buried near each other at or near Gilgo Beach. Those victims were discovered within days of each other and were dubbed the “Gilgo Four.”

While Heuermann is charged only in three of those killings, he is the prime suspect in the 2007 disappearance and death of the fourth woman, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, authorities have said.

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CNN’s Jean Casarez, Laura Dolan and Yon Pomrenze contributed to this report.