In a blow to the defense, a judge has sided with prosecutors and ordered the suspect in the Gilgo Beach murder cases to provide a DNA sample.
Prosecutors say they hope the DNA sample will make their case stronger against the suspect charged with multiple murders on New York's Long Island.
The DNA testing will be done through a process called a buccal swab, also known as cheek swab. A New York judge granted the prosecution's motion Wednesday.
Rex Heuermann must provide an oral swab sample by Tuesday next week in the presence of his attorney.
The district's attorney's office says the sample will "provide further relevant evidence of the defendant's identity as the perpetrator of the crime."
"I must note that the order that was granted today was very pro forma," said Vess Mitev, the attorney representing Rex Heuermann's children, while reacting to the court order. "I know that it's being made out to be this big thing, but the prosecution was going to get this order come hell or high water. If this order was not granted it was going to be an immediately appealable issue."
The suspect's DNA will be compared with DNA from hair found on one of four victims in the Gilgo Beach murders. DNA played a key role in the 59-year-old architect's arrest.
Investigators shared that hair discovered at one of the crime scenes matches with DNA recovered from a pizza box the suspect discarded.
"It was a pretty standard order in any DNA case where they have that kind of evidence that the defendant is required to give nontestimonial evidence against himself subject to certain constitutional limitations, and that's what happened," said Mitev.
Heuermann is charged with the killings of three women, and is the prime suspect in the death of a fourth woman. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was ordered to remain in jail without bail. Police told Newsday they found that Heuermann engaged in "disturbing" behavior before his arrest, but remained vague about what that behavior was — or how, if at all, their findings factor into the cases against him.
"They're truly innocent bystanders in this absolute waking nightmare that's completely not of their own making," said Mitev of the suspect's children.
The children's attorney says his two clients have struggled since their father's arrest last month.
"What they're doing, and what they're having to deal with obviously is having to make sure that their basic needs are met. That's the reality that they're dealing with, their food, their house, their clothing, their shelter, all the things they've been completely robbed of," added Mitev.
Investigators scoured the family's home for evidence. The siblings haven't had access to money because their bank accounts have been tied up in the investigation. Heuermann's wife has filed for divorce.
According to investigators, his wife and children were out of the state when the killings are believed to have taken place.
The DNA analysis is scheduled to happen Tuesday.
The suspect Rex Heuermann is due back in court on Sept. 27.
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com