A woman has been charged with two counts of murder after police say she beat both her mother and grandmother to death in a New Jersey condominium, and then went on the run for four days.
The Atlantic city prosecutor’s office said Wednesday that 42-year-old Heather Barbera, of Ventnor, has been arrested on charges of first-degree murder, third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and first-degree robbery.
Prosecutors say the defendant’s mother, 67-year-old Michelle Gordon, and her grandmother, 87-year-old Elaine Rosen, were found dead on Sunday morning of multiple blunt impact injuries at the Vassar Square Condominiums in Ventnor.
Double homicide: Heather Barbera, 42 (left and right), is accused of using a nightstick to beat to death her mother and grandmother in New Jersey on July 8
Richard Rosen (left) was the one who discovered his mother, 87-year-old Elaine Rosen (right), lying dead in a pool of blood next to her daughter
Barbera’s mother, 67-year-old Michelle Gordon (pictured with her two grandchildren), also died of blunt force trauma alongside her mother
According to prosecutors, after Barbera beat the two elderly women with a nightstick, she stole their cash and credit cards and made her way to New York City after a stopover in Atlantic City.
Police were able to track down Barbera because she used the victims’ stolen credit cards to make purchases in New York.
She was apprehended on Wednesday afternoon at the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan and reportedly confessed to the killings.
Barbera, who has a 10-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter of her own, was being held at Rikers Island on Wednesday pending her extradition to New Jersey.
Barbera’s uncle, Richard Rosen, told Philadelphia Inquierer that he had warned his mother and sister to not allow his niece to stay in their apartment.
Crime scene: The murders took place at Rosen’s apartment at at the Vassar Square Condominiums in Ventnor, NEw Jersey, where Barbera had been staying
Premonition: Richard (left) said he had warned his mother not to let his ‘troubled’ niece (right) stay with her. He believes the 42-year-old is addicted to prescription pills
Rosen was the one who entered his mother’s condo unit at 10.25am on July 8 and found the two women lying dead on the floor in a pool of blood.
Barbera’s uncle said his niece has long been struggling with emotional problems, and he suspects that the 42-year-old mom-of-two is addicted to prescription pills.
Barbera is separated from her husband and their children are living with him.
A waitress at a Ventnor, New Jersey, diner frequented by Michelle Gordon, Elaine Rosen and Barbera, told the Inquierer how the women would often argue at the table.
She also claimed that one time, she caught the 42-year-old stealing rolls of toilet paper from the restaurant’s bathroom and stuffing them into her Louis Vuitton bag.
One of Barbera’s two Facebook pages, however, tells a different story. In 2016, she shared a childhood photo of herself sitting in her mother’s lap.
‘My mother, my backbone,’ she wrote at the time.