Prosecutors anxiously awaited a verdict in the Narcy Novack murder trial as the jury began its second day of deliberations.
Narcy Novack, 55, and her brother, Cristobal Veliz, 58, face 15 counts of federal racketeering, including the felony murders of Novack’s husband, Ben Novack Jr. and his mother, Bernice Novack, heirs to the Fontainebleau hotel fortune.
The panel requested transcripts of testimony from two witnesses: a Miami hairdresser who rented a portion of her trailer to the hired killers, and a man whom Veliz described as “a son.” The hairdresser, Gladys Cuenta, also titled one of the cars used in the conspiracy in her name.
The other witness, Francisco “Frank” Picado, testified he drove the two killers from New York to Miami after Ben Novack was slain on July 12, 2009.
The jurors also asked the judge to clarify the definition of robbery, which is significant because they must find the defendants guilty of robbery in order to sustain the felony murder conviction. Ben Novack, 52, was beaten with barbells, bound and gagged so tightly that he choked on his own vomit, according to the autopsy. His eyes were also slit. The two hit men, Joel Gonzalez and Alejandro Garcia, testified that Narcy Novack let them into their Rye Brook, N.Y. hotel room and gave them a pillow to muffle her husband’s screams.
The Novacks were overseeing a convention that weekend as part of their business, Convention Concepts Unlimited, based in Fort Lauderdale.
Garcia also testified that Veliz hired him to attack Bernice Novack, who was ambushed in the garage of her Fort Lauderdale home and beaten to death with a monkey wrench three months before her son was slain.
The motive for the crime was that with Bernice and Ben Novack out of the way, his sister would get control of the family’s wealth. At the time of her husband’s murder he was having an affair with a porn star and Narcy Novack feared that he was going to leave her.
If convicted, the pair could face 20 years to life.