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Ventnor woman pleads not guilty in killings of mother, grandmother

The Ventnor woman accused of fatally beating her mother and grandmother inside the home they shared pleaded not guilty Friday. Heather Barbera, 41, appeared briefly before Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury next to her new private attorney, Matthew Leonard. Barbera previously was detained in a hearing where she was represented by a member of the Public Defenders Office. The law firm would not comment on who retained them. Leonard told the judge he had received paper discovery but was awaiting interviews. When DeLury asked about it, First Assistant Prosecutor Cary Shill said there was some but it wasn’t really important to the case. Barbera lived in the Vassar Square condominium with her 67-year-old mother, Michelle Gordon, and her 87-year-old grandmother, Elaine Rosen.

“It’s a very difficult and sensitive case.” — attorney Matthew Leonard

“This is obviously a very emotionally charged case for this family, which includes my client,” Leonard told BreakingAC after the arraignment. “We are still learning the facts about what is alleged. It’s a very difficult and sensitive case.” Barbera allegedly beat both women with a nightstick July 7. It has not been revealed where she got it. She then fled the area with stolen property, and was arrested in New York. Barbera had a pending municipal theft charge at the time. She also has a previous simple assault charge, according to records. Her next court date is set for Nov. 29.

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