On the morning of July 8, an employee at the Vassar Square Arms high-rise in Ventnor found t…
MAYS LANDING — It’s been almost a year since Elaine Rosen and her daughter, Michelle Gordon, were found bludgeoned to death in their condo on the Boardwalk in Ventnor.
But still no trial date has been set for their alleged killer, the victims’ granddaughter and daughter, respectively, Heather Barbera.
“I can’t imagine what’s taking so long,” said her uncle, Richard Rosen, 50, of Brooklyn, New York. “If there’s a trial, I’ll go.”
Barbera, 42, who prosecutors allege beat the two women to death with a nightstick before robbing them July 8, 2018, was scheduled to appear in Atlantic County Superior Court Thursday morning for a pretrial conference. However, the appearance was postponed to 9 a.m. July 18 due to scheduling conflicts, according to court records.
James Leonard, attorney for Barbera, has not returned requests for comment on the case.
This is the latest postponement in a string of new court dates for Barbera’s case, which falls under the the Bail Reform and Speedy Trial Act, which sets guidelines for how long a defendant can be detained before trial.
Barbera has been in the Atlantic County jail for almost eight months since her indictment, and the clock is ticking.
Under the act, the state has 90 days to indict a defendant after they are detained, and then another 180 days to bring the case to trial.
Barbera was arrested July 11, 2018, after fleeing to New York City three days after Rosen, 87, and Gordon, 67, were found dead inside a condo at Vassar Square Arms. She was taken into custody by police at the Midtown Manhattan Port Authority and was held in the Rose M. Singer women’s facility on Rikers Island.
MAYS LANDING — The Ventnor woman charged in the July fatal nightstick killing and robbery of…
However, the bail reform clock didn’t start until Barbera consented to pretrial detention during a hearing in county superior court Aug. 9, after being extradited from New York. She was indicted by a grand jury Oct. 17, well within the 90-day deadline.
Barbera pleaded not guilty to the charges in the indictment, which included two counts of first-degree murder, at an arraignment later that month.
But now, Barbera has been held in jail for more than 200 days since her indictment, well over the 180-day deadline.
Excludable time, which effectively pauses the bail reform clock, has been used in the case, most recently in March. Another attorney representing Barbera, Matthew Leonard, requested additional time to review evidence and any motions that might be available.
At a previous appearance, Leonard requested evidence in the case, “specifically for an interview, interrogation that took place in the state of New York,” he said, which he has since received, as well as a mental health evaluation.
Leonard’s request for a four-week postponement, counting as excludable time, was granted.
MAYS LANDING — The woman charged in the July fatal nightstick-killing and robbery of her mot…
Rosen, who was the one who found his mother and sister dead in their condo, said that the delay has been “very frustrating.”
“I was told when they picked her up in Manhattan that she showed no sign of remorse, and then she confessed,” he said. “So I can’t imagine what’s taking so long.”
The Press has reached out to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office for the total amount of excludable time used in the case.
If Barbera is convicted, she could serve 10 to 20 years in prison for each first-degree charge.