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Suspected Gilgo Beach killer appeared ‘traumatized’ after arrest: Defense attorney

Howard Schnapp/Newsday RM via Getty Images

(MASSAPEQUA, N.Y.) — Rex Heuermann appeared “traumatized” at his arraignment on Friday in the Gilgo Beach murders of three sex workers, his defense attorney Michael Brown said.


Brown, Heuermann’s defense attorney, spoke exclusively with ABC News on Tuesday in front of the Suffolk County courthouse about his client, who is charged with murdering the women whose bodies were found along Long Island’s South Shore in 2010. The 59-year-old architect is the prime suspect in the murder of a fourth woman, police said.

Heuermann, who was arrested near his New York City office last Thursday, was assigned to Brown, a criminal defense attorney based out of Suffolk County. Brown said that when he first met with Heuermann at the arraignment on Friday, the suspect appeared traumatized following his arrest.

Brown spoke further with ABC News on Heuerman’s condition when he met with him again at the county jail. “Nothing struck me as unusual about him. He was articulate, he was intelligent, he was soft spoken,” Brown said.

Brown said this case will be challenging for him and his co-councils as Heuerman appears to have “been convicted in the media already and the media public opinion.”

“When you have a high profile case like this, initially you have to be concerned about getting a jury that hasn’t been biased, that hasn’t convicted him, just based on what they’ve read in the newspapers and what they’ve heard on social media. So that’s going to be a challenge,” Brown stated.

Brown said the state has amassed “circumstantial evidence” against his client including phone records that correspond to burner phones used by the victims’ murderer, internet searches and DNA evidence found in a burlap sack that one of the bodies was buried in.

Brown further elaborated that he deems this evidence circumstantial as there were no eyewitnesses to the murders and no confessions from his client.

Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney told ABC News on Monday that Heuermann wouldn’t have been charged if they weren’t confident in their case.

Currently, Brown is assembling his legal team and says that he and his team are in a “wait and hold pattern” for discovery.

Heuermann has been charged with the murders of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Costello, and has been called the “prime suspect” in the death of Maureen Brainard-Barnes. All four women were found in the same area of the beach, bound in the same fashion.

Investigators said Tuesday they were digging into Heuermann’s life and checking to see if they could tie him to unsolved murders or missing persons cases throughout New York state, an NYPD official told ABC News.

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.

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