OAK BEACH, N.Y. — State Sen. Phil Boyle, of Bay Shore, called on New York State Attorney General Letitia James to appoint a special prosecutor in the Long Island serial killer investigation Monday, claiming Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone had been a “protector and enabler” of former police chief James Burke.
“I ask him why he did not fire James Burke when he (Burke) kicked the FBI out of the investigation,” Boyle said of Bellone, addressing a pack of media near the shoreline of Oak Beach.
Oak Beach holds special significance in the serial killer investigation, because an escort named Shannan Gilbert ran frantically from a house party there in the early hours of May 1, 2010.
Her disappearance led to the discovery of 10 sets of remains along Ocean Parkway between December 2010 and April 2011, the first four bodies were discovered in the Gilgo Beach area.
Boyle said Bellone had a close friend in the Oak Beach community.
In response, a spokesperson for Bellone said the county executive wouldn’t comment on an active investigation.
“This remains an ongoing criminal investigation of the highest priority. We’re not going to respond to what is nothing more than a political charade,” the spokesperson told PIX11 News.
Boyle said he was sending letters to three people Monday.
The first letter was going to the acting Suffolk County Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron, whom Boyle called a “good man.”
But the letter contained a question about the serial killer case: “Has Police Chief James Burke ever been cleared?”
Burke was arrested in 2015 and later pleaded guilty to assaulting a young heroin addict from Smithtown, while the man was handcuffed in a police precinct, because the man had broken into Burke’s police vehicle and stolen a bag that contained sex toys and porno films.
The former district attorney, Thomas Spota, was also convicted of attempting to cover up the Burke crimes.
The second letter from the state senator was sent to County Executive Bellone, asking questions about Burke. Boyle noted that Burke had been the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation when he was a Suffolk County police sergeant in the 1990s.
“He was a cop substantiated to have sex in his car with a sex worker,” Boyle noted.
The prostitution probe didn’t stop Burke from getting promoted to chief of investigations by then-DA Spota; and Bellone had to approve Burke’s appointment in 2011 as chief of department for Suffolk County police.
Over the years, multiple men have been mentioned by name as possible suspects in the Long Island Serial Killer investigation, known as LISK. The original chief of detectives on the case, Dominick Varrone, told PIX11 News he doesn’t think Burke carried out the crimes.
Boyle said Monday the case has moved far too slowly.
“They waited ten years to show us part of a belt,” Boyle said, referring to a black belt monogrammed with the initials HM or WH. “We’re not going to wait another ten years to see the buckle.”
One escort said several years ago that she had performed sex acts on James Burke, before he was chief, during a party on Oak Beach.
The web is full of conspiracy theorists who think a ring of influential people is involved in the unsolved killings.
Some believe the women were murdered during the making of snuff films.
“The snuff films is a recent thing,” Boyle said, “but I’ve heard about the sex parties and drugs.”
Suffolk County Police Department said the Gilgo Beach homicide investigation remains a top priority.
“The department has detectives who are solely dedicated to this investigation and our department is working closely with both the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and with the FBI,” officials said in a statement, but did not comment on any suspects in ongoing criminal investigations.