Attorney John Ray Blasted for Claims About Gilgo Beach Serial Killer Suspect Rex Heuermann’s Daughter 

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Attorney John Ray, speaking, held a press conference Thursday claiming to have evidence indicating the family of suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann was involved in the alleged murders, or had knowledge. The press conference was not well received by family attorneys or by victims’ families.
Long Island Press Photo

Attorneys for the family of Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect Rex Heuermann blasted John Ray, the attorney who has represented families of Gilgo Beach serial killer victims, for implying the suspect’s daughter may have been involved.

Ray, a Miller Place-based attorney who represents the family of Shannan Gilbert — the missing woman police were searching for when authorities found the Gilgo victims — held a news conference Thursday to say that a Tumblr account that appears to be that of Victoria Heuermann’s shared artists’ disturbing images of decapitations, cannibalism, torture and other graphic pictures — noting that some of the depictions matched how Rex Heuermann’s alleged victims were found. 

“It’s a very strong inference that this girl was made, over the course of years, somehow, to become accustomed to liking what you see here,” Ray told reporters. “She certainly falls within the circle of suspicion as to some activity that’s involved here.”

Rex Heuermann was arrested in July 2023 in connection to the serial killings. He has since pleaded not guilty to murdering the Gilgo Four – Megan Waterman, Amber Lynn Costello, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, and Melissa Barthelemy – and was recently pleaded not guilty to the murders of Jessica Taylor in 2003, and Sandra Costilla, whose body was found in North Sea in 1993. Gilbert was eventually found dead in a marsh in 2011, and her cause of death was ruled inconclusive – although her family, and Ray, have always asserted she was murdered. Heuermann remains a suspect in the murders of other victims found along Ocean Parkway.

The art Ray had on display was not drawn by Victoria Heuermann, but Ray also presented a piece of artwork he claimed was.

“There’s this horrifying monster with blood eating on the breast of this woman who has a furry butt plug hanging out,” Ray said. “She produced this art.”

Police and prosecutors declined to comment. But others quickly criticized Ray.

Robert Macedonio, attorney for the suspect’s wife Asa Allerup, held a joint press conference with Vesselin Mitev, who represents the couple’s children, Christopher Sheridan and Victoria Heuermann.

“The earliest homicide was 1993, which he was charged with last week. Victoria was not born,” Macedonio said, noting that prosecutors’ evidence shows the wife and children were out of town during the murders. “The latest one is 2007. She was an early teenager…

“The district attorney’s office has put out extensive, detailed information, where they were on each and every occasion the alleged homicides were committed in this case against Rex Heuermann,” he continued. “If they thought that Victoria or Christopher were involved in any way, shape or form, they wouldn’t have been mentioned in the bail application. They have been excluded. For Ray Tierney and the Task Force to exclude Asa and the children this early in the game, it only can hurt him if it’s disproved later on, he had no obligation to say anything about them. Yet he empathetically says ‘They were not here.’”

John Ray
Vesselin Mitev, left, who represents Victoria Heuermann and Christopher Sheridan, and Robert Macedonio, who represents Asa Ellerup, hit back at Ray for his claims.Long Island Press Photo

Macedonio added that the whole process has been hard on Ellerup and her children.

“This is not a circus,” he said. “This is a man charged with six homicides so far that is looking at life without parole. His family, Asa, Victoria, and Christopher — whatever happens to Rex’s guilt or innocence — they are collateral damage. Their lives are forever ruined, and have been further ruined by actions like John Ray’s.”

Mitev, Ray’s one-time law partner, criticized the assertion that the Tumblr account even belonged to Victoria Heuermann.

“There’s zero evidence to substantiate that,” Mitev told reporters. “What you’ve heard from an attorney representing someone that’s in no way shape or form linked in reality with alleged acts was reckless and defamatory. We don’t typically respond to frivolous sideshows, but we had to because the reputation and the character of these two young children who I represent is unimpeachable. This man is cosplaying as an attorney.”

Mitev also indicated that Ray could be sued for defamation, although added “We don’t believe he has sufficient assets to cover any verdict that we would assuredly obtain for defamation.”

The victim’s family and advocates also pounced.

“I do not agree with anything John Ray is doing,” Sherre Gilbert, sister of Shannan Gilbert, wrote on X. “This is disrespectful and I had no prior knowledge to this ‘press conference’ or the ‘evidence’ he was presenting today. He should’ve been there to discuss Shannan’s case period! He cuts his nose to spite his face! I do not support nor condone his actions whatsoever!”

X account @Catch_LISK acknowledged some of Ray’s past work on the case, including keeping Shannan Gilbert in the spotlight, but criticized other actions throughout the case.

“The families kept the pressure on SCPD,” Taylor’s family, who are represented by Gloria Allred, wrote on X. “The families fought for their loved ones behind closed doors to those who mattered to solve the case. We kept this alive.”

Ray has received some praise for his role in the case in the past, as he has represented the Gilbert family pro bono. He has also been a staunch advocate for more federal involvement in the case. Last year, he presented two sworn affidavits linking Heuermann to both Gilbert and Gilgo area victim Karen Vergata, whose murder remains unsolved. The claims were taken seriously enough for then-Suffolk Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison to hold a joint press conference with Ray, although Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney criticized the conference.

“Without providing any advance notice to the prosecutors pursuing this case in court or the Gilgo Beach Homicide Task Force members investigating these murders day in and day out, we watched today’s press conference not knowing what was going to be reported,” Tierney said in October. “Private attorneys are not part of the Task Force and potential witnesses should not be reaching out to a private attorney with an interest in the outcome of the case.”

– With Timothy Bolger