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Crime News Murders

New Details about Gilgo Beach Murder Suspect Rex Heuermann's Life Behind Bars Revealed

"I think his hobbies right now are reading books, reading his discovery, sleeping and watching TV inside of his cell," a sheriff revealed of the man who is accused of serial killings on Long Island.

By Cydney Contreras

Nearly a year after his surprise arrest, Gilgo Beach murder suspect Rex Heuermann has adjusted to life behind bars.

Suffolk County Sheriff Dr. Errol D. Toulon Jr. recently shed light on the disgraced architect's "new way of life," revealing to People that the suspected serial killer "has become more acclimated with jail life."

"In the beginning he was a little bit more starry-eyed as to his surroundings. Life has transformed over the last several months. He receives visits, he makes phone calls, and he doesn't congregate with the rest of the population because of the crimes he's accused of," the sheriff shared.

Heuermann was arrested last July and has since been charged with the murders of four women — Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Lynn Costello — found buried on Gilgo Beach, an area on the South Shore of Long Island. He's also being investigated as a potential suspect in the murders of Karen Vergata and Valerie Mack, two sex workers whose remains were also found on the South Shore.

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Rex Heuermann's Life Behind Bars

Heuermann is currently being held at the Riverhead Correctional Facility in Suffolk County, about 50 miles east of his home of Massapequa. The close proximity to his home has allowed his wife, Asa Ellerup to see him.

"Within the first three or four months [of his incarceration] she did not visit him,” Toulon said to the outlet. “Maybe in the last two months she started visiting more frequently.”

Though Ellerup filed for divorce in the weeks following Heuermann's arrest, she purportedly has a "very difficult time believing that the Rex, who she was married to for 27 years, is capable of committing these homicides," her attorney Bob Macedonio told People.

Macedonio speculated that the visits have been "therapeutic for her" as she tries to understand the events that have unfolded over the past year. 

Serial killer Rex A. Heuermann's daughter Victoria Heuermann (left) and wife Asa Ellerup, 59.

When not visiting with Ellerup or attending court hearings, Heuermann keeps himself busy with other activities. "I think his hobbies right now are reading books, reading his discovery, sleeping and watching TV inside of his cell," Toulon revealed.

Additionally, Heuermann is able to spend one hour in the prison yard each day so he can exercise, according to Toulon, who said that Heuermann mostly "just walks around."

He's unable to interact with other inmates, as he's been separated from others "for his safety," Toulon said. 

"One of the things that we're very committed to is to ensure that justice is served in the courts and not in our jails,” Toulon explained. "When Mr. Heuermann has to move throughout our facility, we will stop all inmate movement because we don't want someone that may want to bring up their own street credibility or someone that may want to hurt him because they ... may know a sex worker or just do not like people that commit crimes against women and may take it into their own hands."

Toulon noted that so far there "haven't been any issues" with Heuermann or other inmates. "He's been very compliant," the sheriff said.

RELATED: Could Suspected Long Island Serial Killer Rex Heuermann be Tied to This Missing South Carolina Woman’s Case?

The Latest in the Gilgo Beach Murder Case

A mugshot of Rex Heuermann

So far, no trial date has been set for Heuermann, with prosecutors and the defense still in the process of discovery. 

At Heuermann's most recent court hearing, his attorney, Michael Brown, requested files from the FBI's investigation into former Suffolk County Chief of Police James Burke, who was arrested for allegedly exposing himself and soliciting prostitution in a Long Island park in August 2023. Brown suggests that Burke may have been involved in the string of murders at the center of Heuermann's case and that Burke used his position to prevent the FBI from further investigating the women's deaths, according to Fox 5

"Chief Burke has an extremely checkered history in terms of prostitutes and abuse," Brown said. "It seems contrary to common sense that Chief Burke wouldn’t let the FBI in to help with the investigation back then to help with their expertise."

Meanwhile, Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney said that the prosecution has already handed over 422 electronic devices, 388 leads and information about other potential suspects, which Brown requested, per Fox 5's report.

Tierney previously revealed that investigators were able to link Heuermann to the crime through hairs found on burlap used to wrap the victims' remains. Those hairs were found to belong to Heuermann's wife and daughter, with Tierney saying the tests determined that "99 percent of the rest of the population can be excluded" from the sample.

The next court hearing is set to take place June 18.