New charge for Fla. woman accused in 2 killings

AP News
Posted: Sep 20, 2011 5:50 PM
New charge for Fla. woman accused in 2 killings

A new charge that carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison has been filed against a Florida woman accused of arranging the killings of her husband and mother-in-law.

Federal prosecutors released a revised indictment Tuesday in the case against Narcy Novack, 54, of Fort Lauderdale, and her brother, Cristobal Veliz, 57, of Brooklyn.

They are charged with hiring the killers of Bernice Novack, 87, in her Fort Lauderdale home, and Ben Novack Jr., 53, in his suburban New York hotel room. The slayings occurred three months apart in 2009.

Ben Novack was the son of the man who built the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach. Prosecutors allege Narcy Novack wanted to get her hands on her husband's multimillion-dollar estate.

The new indictment adds a charge of murder in aid of racketeering, alleging that the killings were part of an interstate plan to enrich the defendants.

The charge can be punishable by death in some cases, but prosecutors announced earlier they would not seek the execution of Novack and Veliz. So if the defendants are convicted on that charge, the mandatory sentence would be life in prison without hope of parole.

Under the previous indictment, life in prison would have been the maximum sentence but not mandatory.

The new indictment also adds charges relating to the maiming of Ben Novack "by bludgeoning his head and body with dumbbells and slitting his eyes with a knife" as he was being killed at the Hilton hotel in Rye Brook, where his company had organized an Amway convention.

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Prosecutors alleged earlier that Novack's eyes were cut on his wife's orders after she let two killers into the hotel room.

Calls to defense attorneys were not immediately returned Tuesday. Novack and Veliz pleaded not guilty to the earlier charges.

A court session on the new indictment is scheduled for Oct. 5.

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