A new Peacock docuseries about the ex-wife and family of suspected Long Island serial killer Rex Heuermann has unsurprisingly irked authorities and some families of victims potentially tied to the case.

The project was first confirmed earlier this month, and, as The New York Times notes, camera crews have been spotted at the home of Heuermann’s ex, Asa Ellerup, as well as following her to one of Heuermann’s recent court hearings. 50 Cent’s G-Unit Productions is helping to develop the project along with Texas Crew Productions and New York Post Entertainment.

Notably, Ellerup is being paid for the docuseries, though the exact figure is unknown. Some reports have suggested she could be receiving $1 million, with additional payments reportedly going to her lawyer and an attorney for her children.

A Peacock spokesperson tells Rolling Stone that Ellerup was not paid for her participation in the series, and has no creative control over it, but she was paid a standard licensing fee for use of her archival material. That money, however, cannot go towards Heuermann, or his defense funds.

Furthermore, the spokesperson said all the victims’ families were contacted about appearing in the documentary. They either did not respond or declined to partake.

Reps for G-Unit Productions did not immediately return a request for comment.

Speaking with The Times, departing Suffolk County, Long Island police commissioner Rodney Harrison called the docuseries “a smack at the family members who lost a loved one.” Meanwhile, Suffolk County prosecutor Ray Tierney said the film project could “affect [Ellerup’s] credibility,” especially if she is called to testify. 

Ellerup is not facing any charges, and it’s believed she was out of town when the killings occurred. But investigators uncovered some potential ties to the case. For instance, a woman recently told authorities she met Heuermann and Ellerup at their home in 1996 for a sex party along with Karen Vergata, a woman who disappeared and whose skull was found near Gilgo Beach in 2011. Additionally, police have said strands of Ellerup’s hair, likely carried accidentally from the family’s home, helped link Heuermann to the bodies. 

Ellerup’s lawyer, Robert Macedonio, has said she knew nothing about the killings, and “the only thing she knows about the charges is what’s been reported by the media.” He added: “She wants to believe that the spouse she’s been married to for 27 years wasn’t capable of these crimes. She wants to see and hear the evidence as it plays out in the courtroom.”

Tierney, the prosecutor, did acknowledge it was unlikely Ellerup knew any pertinent details about the case or, if she did, that she would choose to share them on camera. Even still, he argued that Ellerup was “trying to capitalize on her husband’s notoriety and make herself marketable. But the truth isn’t always marketable and the money itself could be a motivation to lie.” 

On the other hand, John Ray, a lawyer representing the families of two women whose remains were found on Gilgo Beach, said Ellerup “should be considered a suspect and investigated accordingly.” Noting that anything she says to the film crew “can be used against her criminally,” he said, “They are all walking on extremely thin legal ice… She’s still within the circle of suspicion in this case, and so are the children. Anything she says is very dangerous.”

Some of the most vociferous criticism came from Sherre Gilbert, sister of Shannan Gilbert, whose disappearance led to the discovery of other corpses on Gilgo Beach. Heuermann has not been charged in Gilbert’s death, but Sherre still lashed out at the project, writing on social media earlier this month that she was “disappointed, disgusted, flabbergasted, [and] frustrated… The way that the media will buy stories to further re-victimize, re-traumatize, and exploit the families & victims of serial killers is evil!”

In a follow-up statement, Sherre said it was “unethical and immoral for these TV networks/production companies to use us to tell our stories under the guise of ‘truth & justice’ while being forced to relive our trauma over and over for the last decade +.” She also slammed the Ellerup’s reported payday for the doc, but also all the other entities that “have made money off my family/sister’s story,” while she continued to struggle “emotionally, mentally, and financially just to get by in this economy.” 

“Not only is it predatory, it’s exploitation point blank!” Gilbert said. 

Along with the Peacock project following Ellerup, Netflix is prepping a docuseries about Heuermann’s arrest and the other still-unsolved murders along the shore of Gilgo Beach. The series will be directed by Liz Garbus, who dramatized the killings in her 2020 film Lost Girls; the three-part series will look at the case against Heuermann and the unsetting discrepancy between the three murders Heuermann has been charged with and the nearly one dozen corpses found along Gilgo Beach. 


Heuermann, who was arrested in July, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Costello. He has pleaded not guilty. 

This story was updated at 12:27 p.m. ET with information from a Peacock spokesperson.