Heather Barbera, a 41-year-old New Jersey woman, is accused of murdering both her mother and her grandmother by allegedly beating them to death with a nightstick.
The victims were identified as Elaine Rosen, 87, and Michelle Gordon, 67, who worked as a patient-care technician. The women were found dead in their condominium in Ventnor City, New Jersey on July 8, 2018. Heather Barbera now stands charged with two counts of first-degree murder, third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and first-degree robbery.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Barbera Is Accused of Fleeing the Scene After the Murders to New York
The mother and grandmother both died of “multiple blunt impact injuries and the manner of death was homicide,” according to ABC 7.
Prosecutors allege that Barbera “took a bus to New York City after committing the murders,” the television station reported, but the New York Police Department tracked her down and arrested her.
The older women lived together in a luxury condo complex.
Stephanie Travitsky told Heavy, “I knew Heather. We lived on the same block a long time ago. The neighborhood is still in shock over what happened. All you need to know was that her family lived on East 27th Street between Avenue V and Avenue W in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. They moved to Emmons Avenue once Heather was in junior high school.”
She added, “Her father Jeffery Gordon was an NYPD officer.” She said that Heather Barbera married twice. “Michelle Gordon was a very nice lady, and strong. The last time that I was in touch with her was last year on Facebook. Heather needs help. This whole situation just did not seem like her,” Travitsky said.
2. Heather Barbera’s Uncle Says He Warned His Sister Not to Take Barbera In
Richard Rosen, the brother of Heather’s mother, told Philly.com that he warned his sister not to take in her troubled daughter. His sister and mother lived in the Vassar Square Condominiums on the Boardwalk.
“I told them not to let her in,” Rosen told Philly.com. “My mother didn’t want her in. My sister pushed it.” It was Rosen who found the bodies, according to the newspaper, which reported that they were “bludgeoned with a nightstick.” He described both victims as “very good people. Very nice, honest.”
3. Barbera Referred to Her Mother as Her ‘Backbone’ on Facebook
Heather Barbera posted a throwback photo of her mother with her as a child in 2016 on Facebook and wrote, “Wow, – blast from the past. My mother, my backbone, and little me back in the day… — feeling blessed.” A friend wrote on the comment thread a year ago, “Wow you look so much like her. Adorable picture.”
Facebook posts indicate she also has a brother. Heather is also a mother; in 2016, she wished a happy birthday to her then 11-year-old daughter. She appears to have had two Facebook pages. The second one said she was single and lived in East Freehold, New Jersey. She also posted photos of a son.
In 2016, she wrote, “Just when, in life, giving up was a plan, I get back up, take a few punches and think of exactly what I’m fighting for!!!! Have a good day fb…one of my favs to live by!! Good ole life….”
4. Barbera Called Herself ‘Superwoman’ on Facebook
On Facebook, Heather Barbera dubbed herself “Superwoman.”
She wrote that she “Studied at Kingsborough Community College,” and went to Sheepshead Bay High School. She also wrote that she was from Brooklyn, New York, and was in a relationship.
Barbera frequently posted inspirational sayings on Facebook. In 2016, she posted a graphic titled “mother & daughter” that read, “It’s a special bond that spans the years. Through laughter, worry, smiles and tears. A sense of trust that can’t be broken, a depth of love sometimes unspoken. A lifelong friendship built on sharing, hugs and kisses, warmth and caring. Mother and daughter their hearts as one. A link that can never be undone.”
In 2014, she wrote a friend in the comment thread on Facebook, “…doing very well. Not what I’d have expected but all for the best. Met a wonderful man and (man’s name) is a great dad! So happy kids, happy life:) ttys xo.”
5. Barbera Is Accused of Stealing Credit Cards & Cash
NJ.com reports that there is some evidence robbery could be the motive as Barbera is also accused of stealing the victims’ credit cards and money.
Police say they have surveillance video of her leaving the apartment building on the morning of July 7, and that she then went to Atlantic City before New York and allegedly used the credit cards.
Her uncle has theorized that robbery could be the motive, NJ.com reported. She was awaiting an extradition hearing in New York scheduled to take place in August 2018.