Fla. woman charged in mother-in-law's killing

AP News
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Posted: Apr 05, 2011 8:08 PM
Fla. woman charged in mother-in-law's killing

A woman already accused of arranging her millionaire husband's grisly death was charged Tuesday with directing the bloody slaying of her mother-in-law two months earlier.

An updated federal indictment alleges that Narcy Novack, 53, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., arranged a fatal April 2009 attack on 87-year-old Bernice Novack.

Narcy Novack's brother, Cristobal Veliz, was also charged. They allegedly directed two other people, identified only as "co-conspirators," to assault the elderly woman at her home.

Federal prosecutors have made clear for months that they suspected Narcy Novack in her mother-in-law's killing. Bernice Novack's death was originally ruled an accident, despite her broken jaw and blood smeared on the walls of her Fort Lauderdale house. It was reclassified a homicide after Narcy Novack's arrest in the death of her husband, Ben Novack Jr.

Ben Novack was found beaten to death in July 2009 at the Hilton hotel in the New York City suburb of Rye Brook, where his company had organized an Amway convention. He was the son of the builder of the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach, Fla.

Prosecutors say Narcy Novack let two men into the New York hotel suite she was sharing with her husband, where they beat him with dumbbells and bound him with duct tape. His eyes were allegedly cut with a utility knife on his wife's orders.

Prosecutors say Narcy Novack was eager to get her husband's estate, which has been estimated at $10 million. His mother's death added to his share.

Narcy Novack's lawyer, Howard Tanner, said the new indictment "does not change the fact that Narcy Novack had nothing to do with either the death of Ben Novack or the death of Bernice Novack." A call to Veliz's lawyer was not immediately returned.

The murder charges are incorporated within a new racketeering charge, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Previously, Novack and Veliz, 57, had been charged with interstate domestic violence and stalking. There is no stand-alone federal murder charge but federal prosecutors often take on murder cases by asserting interstate elements that give them jurisdiction.

The new indictment also alleges that Narcy Novack stole $95,000 from her husband's company and tried to launder the cash. It accuses her and Veliz of trying to pay a witness for false testimony. And it accuses Veliz of soliciting an associate to have one of the co-conspirators killed.

The names of two men who were originally charged have disappeared from the case. At least one of them has pleaded guilty to driving the getaway car in the Ben Novack killing and may be cooperating with prosecutors.

Novack and Veliz are scheduled for arraignment on Friday.

Narcy Novack's daughter, May Abad, stands to inherit the Ben Novack estate, which includes one of the world's largest collections of Batman memorabilia, if her mother is convicted.