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Sound Bites: It’s a DNA match for alleged Long Island serial killer

Accused Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann appears in Judge Tim Mazzei’s courtroom at Suffolk County Court in Riverhead on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. His lawyer, Michael J. Brown, is at left.
James Carbone
Accused Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann appears in Judge Tim Mazzei’s courtroom at Suffolk County Court in Riverhead on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. His lawyer, Michael J. Brown, is at left.

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Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney told a judge that DNA taken from Rex Heuermann matches hairs and saliva used to link him to the murders of three women whose bodies were found along Ocean Parkway over a decade ago. Heuermann has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say Heuermann is the prime suspect in a fourth murder, and their investigation into other potential victims is ongoing.

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

Quinnipiac University will enlist college students to fill vacant science teacher positions in New Haven Public Schools to address a statewide teacher shortage. Connecticut needs around 2,600 more teachers and paraeducators this year. In New Haven, there are over 70 teacher vacancies in the city’s 41 schools. Many teachers resigned citing low salaries. The school district may look to expand the partnership to other classes, including math.

The bus company involved in last week’s Farmingdale school bus crash upstate has conflicting state and federal safety inspection records. Newsday reports that the state Department of Transportation listed the company, Regency Transportation Ltd., as “unacceptable” and gave it a 33.3% out-of-service rate this year. In contrast, federal inspectors deemed the company “satisfactory” and gave it a 2.2% out-of-service rate. Bus companies with a 25% out-of-service rate or higher are considered “unacceptable operators.”

Criterion Cinemas, New Haven’s last commercial movie theater, will permanently close on Thursday, Oct. 12. The New York-based parent company of the theater, Bow Tie Partners, cited poor profit stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the closure. First opening in 2004, Criterion Cinemas have shown over 2,000 films throughout its 19-year lifespan. It is not yet known what Bow Tie partners plans to redevelop the theater into.

UConn received a $4 million grant to study a mineral causing Connecticut home foundations to deteriorate. Thousands of homes were built with the mineral pyrrhotite, which expands when exposed to moisture, causing the structural integrity of foundations to degrade. Over the last seven years, thousands of homes were forced to foreclose due to the mineral with foundation repair costs ranging over $200,000. UConn researchers will use the grant to develop a risk assessment framework to help homeowners mitigate pyrrhotite deterioration.

The New London Housing Authority wants to replace three housing complexes. The plan is to demolish complexes near Coleman Street, Gordon Court and Riozzi Court. The authority is seeking assistance from architectural firms to replace them with larger apartment buildings to create 30 additional housing units. The project is estimated to cost $65 million and take seven years to complete. Funding for the project will come from state and federal finance and city vouchers and grants.

The Town of Riverhead’s government building is moving to a new location at the former Peconic Bay Medical Center’s Entenmann Campus. Riverhead purchased the property in January for $20 million. The move is expected to be complete by Friday with an official opening ceremony slated for next Wednesday. The previous Town Hall located at 200 Howell Avenue will be renovated to operate as the town's new justice court.

Owners of the Danbury Mall are calling for the city to designate their property as mixed-use. If the designation is approved, the mall owners propose turning over 75,000 square feet of former retail space into 144 residential apartments. The mall's retail stores were closed in 2020 due to loss of profits during the pandemic. Other parts of the 1.6 million-square-foot mall will be used to house a new full-service entertainment center and a Target store — which is expected to open in 2024.

Norwalk received more than $5 million to help pay for new wastewater infrastructure. The project will separate the currently combined sanitary and stormwater systems into individual draining infrastructures. It will address continuous, erratic flooding, improve storm water quality and better protect Lockwood and Heather Lane neighborhoods from damaging climate change impacts. Money comes from the state Community Investment Fund.

Bridgeport’s “Sound on Sound” Music Festival kicks off Saturday and Sunday at Seaside Park. The line-up includes 20 bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Mayer and Alanis Morissette. Police warn residents and concert goers of heavy traffic to be expected downtown and in the South End. Approximately 60,000 people attended the festival in 2022.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.
Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.