Gilgo suspect’s how-to manual reflects a killer’s mind, prosecutors say

FILE — Investigators search the home of murder suspect Rex Heuermann in Massapequa Park, N.Y., on July 15, 2023. Heuermann meticulously assembled a document of techniques that prosecutors say he put into practice over decades of killings. One expert called it the suspect’s “blueprint for murder.” (Johnny Milano for The New York Times)

When prosecutors indicted Rex Heuermann this month on two additional murders in the Gilgo Beach serial killings on Long Island in New York, they also described a manual he kept as a “planning document.”

Prosecutors say Heuermann created the document to “methodically blueprint” the selection, killing and disposal of victims, according to a bail application filed with the indictment.


Written in capital letters, the manual is structured as a series of reminder lists under topics like PRE-PREP, which offers banal tips about the importance of checking weather reports and looking for surveillance cameras. The PREP section is more grim, with directives to set up a holding area and “stage” with equipment for apparent sexual torture. The BODY PREP list includes reminders on how to avoid leaving evidence.

The manual is the most informative piece of narrative evidence disclosed since prosecutors filed legal papers after Heuermann’s arrest detailing investigators’ 18-month pursuit. In prosecutors’ hands, a document they say the defendant created to avoid detection may instead become damning evidence against him, even given the already disclosed DNA matches, phone records and internet activity that prosecutors say tie Heuermann to the killings.

The methods that Heuermann outlined in the document in “excruciating detail” correspond to the ways in which he carried out the six murders, said the Suffolk County district attorney, Raymond Tierney, adding that Heuermann’s “intent was specifically to locate these victims, to hunt them down, to bring them under his control and to kill them.”

Heuermann, a 60-year-old architect, was arrested last summer and later charged with murdering the so-called Gilgo Four. Those victims were among 10 sets of human remains found along a desolate stretch of Ocean Parkway east of Jones Beach in 2010 and 2011.

He has pleaded not guilty to all six murders and has remained in jail as he awaits trial.

Legal experts agreed that the newly disclosed document was devastating for Heuermann.

“It is a road map for conviction,” said Stephen Scaring, a criminal defense lawyer on Long Island and a former chief of homicide for the Nassau County district attorney’s office.

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