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Friday, June 22, 2012

The Narcy Novack Case

     In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on April 6, 2009, a neighbor discovered the body of 86-year-old Bernice Novack in the laundry room of her house. Lying in a pool of blood, the widow of Ben Novack Sr., the man who owned the famous Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, had a cracked skull, a broken front tooth, and a fractured finger. Notwithstanding blood droplets throughout the dwelling, the Broward County Medical Examiner ruled her manner of death as accidental. Fort Lauderdale detectives concluded that the elderly woman had slipped and fell to her death.

     About three months after Bernice Novack's "accident," her son, Ben Novack, Jr., the heir to the family fortune, was found bludgeoned to death in a Rye Brook, New York hotel room. This death was not an accident. The victim's wife, Narcy Novack, a 52-year-old former Hialeah, Florida stripper originally from Ecuador, told police she discovered her murdered husband when she returned to the Rye Town Hilton suite after having breakfast downstairs. Mr. Novack, a successful convention planner, was in the suburban New York City community managing an Amway convention.

     The Novack marriage had been stormy. According to reports, Ben Novack enjoyed a variety of bizarre sexual fetishes, and was having an affair with a porn actress named Rebecca Bliss. (No doubt her real name.)

     The FBI took charge of the investigation (murder for hire is a federal crime), and from the beginning suspected a contract killing orchestrated by Narcy Novack, the dead man's wife. One lead led to another, and on February 2010, a pair of Miami hoods, Alejandro Garcia and Joel Gonzales confessed to being paid $15,000 to murder Bernice and Ben Novack. According to the hitmen, Narcy Novack and her 58-year-old brother Cristobal Veliz, were the murder for hire masterminds. (The confessions caused the Broward County Medical Examiner to change the manner of death ruling for Bernice Novack from accidental to homicidal.)

     In April 2010, the assistant United States Attorney for the southern district of New York charged Narcy Novack and Cristobal Veliz with racketeering, money laundering, and two counts of first degree murder. Under the federal statute, in convicted of murder for hire, the brother and sister defendants would face mandatory life sentences. Prosecutor Andrew Dember believed Narcy, fearing that her husband was going to leave her for the porn actress, instigated the double murder in order to inherit the estate.

     The Novack/Veliz trial commenced in White Plains, New York on April 23, 2012. While cell phone records implicated both defendants along with other pieces of circumstantial evidence, the heart of the government's case consisted of the testimony of the two hitmen who had agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with the prosecution.

     According to these cold-blooded killers, Narcy Novack told them that her husband was a pedophile who engaged in weird sexual acts. At 7 o'clock on the morning of her husband's murder, Narcy let Garcia and Gonzales into the fourth floor suite as Mr. Novack slept. The executioners began beating the victim with hand-held dumbbells. At one point during the 17-minute beating, Narcy handed the hitmen a pillow to stifle the dying man's screams.

     After Garcia and Gonzales cleaned-up in the dead man's bathroom, they left the hotel. (Gonzales had broken his sunglasses in the attack, and left pieces in the room. Contract killers almost always leave incriminating evidence behind.) After the killers exited the scene, Narcy went to the convention site to have breakfast. She returned to the suite at 7:45 AM, "discovered" her husband's blood-soaked body, and called 911. (The hit men also told the jury how they had murdered Mrs. Novack in Fort Lauderdale.)

     On June 8, the prosecution rested its case. Defense attorney Howard Tanner did his best to discredit Gonzales and Garcia as a couple of mobsters who would say anything to get lighter sentences for the murders of Ben Novack and his mother. He also tried to cast suspicion on Narcy Novack's 36-year-old daugher May Abad who, upon her mother's conviction, would inherit the family fortune. In describing the prosecution's case, attorney Tanner called it "flimsy and weak."

     The murder for hire case went to the jury on Monday, June 18. Two days later, the jury found Narcy Novack and Cristobal Veliz guilty of orchestrating the killings. By law, both would spend the rest of their lives in prison. 

1 comment:

  1. Wretched and monstrous these devils snuffed out the lives of mother and son in a brutal monstrous act...these devils will dwell in hell forever

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