The estranged wife of alleged Long Island serial killer Rex Heuermann has launched a legal battle to reclaim his cache of hundreds of firearms, which her lawyers say are worth “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Asa Ellerup, 59, is arguing she has the legal right to retain her spouse’s expansive gun collection, which includes nearly 300 firearms that her attorney says were legally purchased.
Ellerup is also attempting to retain jewelry, clothing, and cash that were taken during the raid on the family’s Long Island residence following her husband’s arrest in the Gilgo Beach serial murders case. Ellerup claims she’s entitled to the marital assets as her and husband’s divorce case proceeds through the courts.
RELATED: Could Suspected Long Island Serial Killer Rex Heuermann be Tied to This Missing South Carolina Woman’s Case?
“The county has no lawful right to any of it that’s not considered legal contraband,” said Ellerup’s attorney, Robert Macedonio, according to Newsday.
Macedonio said he expects to file a notice of claim on the property but only after Nassau County police take custody of the collection for the purposes of reviewing possible gun charges.
Photo: James Carbone/Newsday RM via Getty Images
Heuermann was charged in July with three counts each of first- and second-degree murder in the deaths of Melissa Barthelemy, 24; Megan Waterman, 22; and Amber Lynn Costello, 27. All of the victims were sex workers whose bodies were found in December of 2010 near Gilgo Beach. Heuermann was arrested in midtown Manhattan after DNA found on a discarded pizza crust linked him to the murders.
Heuermann is also the main suspect in the killing of 25-year-old Maureen Brainard-Barnes, whose remains were discovered in December of 2010 near the other three victims.
RELATED: Ex-Police Chief Who Oversaw Gilgo Beach Killings Investigation Arrested for Allegedly Soliciting Prostitution
Upwards of 280 guns were confiscated by authorities from the Long Island architect’s home following his arrest. After a review by Suffolk police, investigators determined that Heuermann had possessed a handful of weapons that violated state gun laws, according to court records cited by Newsday. He allegedly only had permits for 92 firearms.
Heuermann’s cache of firearms includes a number of historic long guns, which aren’t bound by permitting in New York, as well as several hunting rifles, revolvers, and semi-automatic weapons, including an Uzi and Tommy Guns, according to Newsday. Some of the weapons’ manufacturing dates trace back to the mid-19th century. Others were reportedly used in world wars. The guns were manufactured in Switzerland, England, Sweden, Russia, Israel, France, and Italy.
Photo: Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office via AP
The collection is estimated to cost anywhere from hundreds of dollars to $5,000 per firearm. Macedonio insists the whole stash is valued around $300,000. The guns aren’t believed to have been used in the Gilgo Beach slayings that Heuermann is accused of.
“They are valuable collectors’ items that he collected legally,” Macedonio said.
He described Heuermann as a “gun guy,” noting the alleged Long Island serial killer attended NRA conferences in the past.
Ellerup filed for divorce days after Heuermann was taken into custody. Authorities said that she was away at the time of the suspected killings.
RELATED: Rex Heuermann’s Estranged Wife Has Cancer as Gilgo Beach Murder Suspect Awaits Trial
Following Heuermann’s arrest, Ellerup publicly claimed that she was left without a mattress when authorities tore apart the family’s ranch-style Massapequa Park home while searching it.
“I woke up in the middle of the night, shivering,” Ellerup said in a July 31 interview with the New York Post. “My children cry themselves to sleep. I mean, they’re not children. They’re grown adults but they’re my children, and my son has developmental disabilities and he cried himself to sleep.”
Heuermann remains in custody ahead of trial. He turned 60 on Wednesday.