Former secretary of accused Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann speaks out | Exclusive

Kristin Thorne Image
Thursday, April 11, 2024
Rex Heuermann's former assistant speaks out about the charges against him
Kristin Thorne spoke exclusively with the accused serial killer's former assistant.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The former executive assistant of accused Long Island serial killer Rex Heuermann is speaking for the first time exclusively with Eyewitness News.

Donna Sturman told investigative reporter Kristin Thorne she still has not gotten over the shock of the claims made against her former boss.

"It's traumatizing," she said. "It's so unbelievable."

Sturman worked for Heuermann from 2017 to 2018 at his architectural office in Midtown.

She said the irony is not lost on her that it was DNA from a discarded piece of pizza crust that prosecutors have used to tie Heuermann to the Gilgo Beach murders. He has pled not guilty to all the charges.

"I used to buy him that pizza," Sturman said. "It always kind of bothered me that he didn't eat the crust."

Sturman said she never imagined Heuermann would be accused of murdering four women and disposing of their bodies at Gilgo Beach.

"To me, he was always so respectful," she said.

Sturman said she saw the news of Heuermann's arrest last summer like everyone else - online.

"I was researching something on Google and saw Rex's name and I thought that's not a very common name," she recounted. "Then I see Heuermann, then I see Massapequa, then I see architect. I thought I was hallucinating. Honestly, it was like moving in slow motion."

Sturman said seeing the surveillance video of Heuermann's arrest outside his Midtown office, his mugshot, and then pictures of him in court in handcuffs was overwhelming.

"It's seriously traumatizing," she said.

ALSO READ: Gilgo Beach murders: Complete timeline of events leading up to Rex Heuermann's arrest

Sturman said she felt something bad in her gut when she took the job with Heuermann seven years ago, but she needed a job because she was having financial difficulties from what she calls an involuntary bankruptcy.

"He offered me so much money and, again, my situation being rendered without any money," she said. "I took it."

Sturman said she met Heuermann's wife, daughter, and mother, but he never talked about his personal life around the office.

"It was always about the projects we were working on and what had to be done the next day," she said. "There was so much work. I never sat down from the time I came in. I was constantly busy."

Sturman said Heuermann never paid her overtime or vacation time. She filed a complaint with the New York State Department of Labor and, in 2021, the department found Heuermann owed Sturman $20,000 in lost wages.

In September, the DOL issued a judgment against Heuermann for still not paying Sturman.

"No, he hasn't paid me," she said. "He's obviously not in jail writing checks."

Eyewitness News reached out to Heuermann's attorney about the lost wages, but he declined to comment.

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