ALBANY, N.Y. (Court TV) — Outrage after the wife of an accused killer signed a lucrative deal with a streaming service has prompted a New York State senator to try to change the law.
Months after her husband, Rex Heuermann, was charged with the murders of three women whose bodies were found buried on Gilgo Beach, Asa Ellerup signed a deal with NBC’s streaming service, Peacock. While several reports have estimated the deal to be worth $1 million, a spokesperson for the network declined to offer any concrete numbers, saying only that Ellerup was paid a licensing fee for the use of archive materials as they work to develop a multi-part documentary series. As part of the signed agreement, none of the money paid to Ellerup can be used for Heuermann or his defense.
In 1978, New York passed legislation known as the ‘Son of Sam Law,’ which prevents criminals from profiting from their stories by selling them to publishers or movie producers. After the law was passed, more than 40 states and the federal government passed similar statutes.
N.Y. State Sen. Kevin Thomas has introduced legislation in the Assembly that would expand the law to include family members. In a post on social media announcing his proposed legislation, Thomas said, “Victims and their families should not be exploited for their pain.” The amended law would require companies that pay the family or ex-spouses of anyone convicted or accused of a crime more than $10,000 to notify the Office of Victim Services about the contract. After notification, the victim or their families may choose to bring legal action to recover any money from the contract.
Ellerup’s attorney, Bob Macedonio, responded to Thomas’ proposed legislation in a statement to Court TV: “It’s a sad day in America when people are willing to trample on the Constitution to get press coverage. The next thing they will attempt is to control media coverage.”
“Before lawmakers try to expand the Son of Sam laws, they should work on enforcing them against the actual perpetrators, like my father, who has profited for the last 18 years running a black market murderabilia racket. I’ve been trying for years to shut it down.”
Ellerup filed for divorce immediately following her husband’s arrest in July. She visited him in jail on Nov. 8, her attorney told Court TV, and she plans to attend every court date going forward.
“She wants to actually see and hear for herself the evidence they have against Rex,” Macedonio told Court TV in November.
On Nov. 15, when Ellerup appeared for the first time at one of Heuermann’s hearings, she was followed by a film crew.
Macedonio has shared that his client is battling cancer and has struggled financially in the wake of her husband’s arrest and has asked the state to return more than 250 weapons that were found during searches of the family’s property. Court TV obtained documents showing that Heuermann signed the deed of the family’s home over to his wife on Sept. 22, making Ellerup the sole owner of the property.
Heuermann is due in court next on Feb. 6.