Gilgo Beach documentary spurs 'Son of Sam' law update

Nicole Fuller

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Originally published in Newsday on .

A pair of state lawmakers from Long Island have proposed an expansion of the “Son of Sam” law after the estranged wife of Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect Rex A. Heuermann was reportedly paid more than $1 million in connection with the production of a documentary about the alleged crimes.

The proposed legislation seeks to add ex-spouses and family members of convicted criminals to the 1970s-era state law that bars convicted criminals from profiting from their crimes.

Asa Ellerup, who filed for divorce from Heuermann six days after his July 13 arrest on first- and second-degree murder charges in the killings of three women, attended one of Heuermann’s recent court appearances with a documentary camera crew in tow. Heuermann has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

State Sen. Kevin Thomas’ proposed bill would amend the “Son of Sam” law to cover contracts with family or former spouses, requiring any company paying those individuals in excess of $10,000 to talk about the crimes to notify the state’s Office of Victim Services, which then notifies victims or their families about the payments, allowing them to press civil action to potentially recoup the earnings.

“When I saw that NBC and Peacock had entered into a contract with the spouse and family members of the suspect, I was like, ‘Wait a minute, this doesn’t seem right when you have victims’ families who are so devastated by this,’” said Thomas (D-Levittown). “For them to ink a deal before the trial has even begun, this is just wrong to do. It is gross to have read that headline that NBC is paying a million dollars to the spouse of this individual that is sitting in jail right now.”

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