However, a long list of Novack family members are contesting Ben Novack’s will, including his first cousin, Andrea Hissom Wynn, 48, who last year married Las Vegas hotel billionaire Steve Wynn, 69. Hissom, who was divorced, is the daughter of the late Arlene Novack, Ben Novack Sr.’s niece. Her father, Victor Danenza, was an international financier who fled to France in 1976 amid an FBI probe into stock fraud.
Other family members contesting the will: Hissom’s brother, Joseph Danenza; and first cousins Gerald Brezner, Meredith Fiel and Lisa Fiel. Maxine Fiel, Bernice’s sister, and Ronald Novack, Novack Sr.’s adopted son, are also part of the lawsuit, which is winding its way through probate court in Broward County.
In sentencing Narcy Novack and Veliz, Karas spoke about a letter he received from Doug Reynolds, one of Bernice Novack’s neighbors.
Reynolds pointed out that if Novack received just 27 years, as her lawyer suggested, she would conceivably be released in her mid-80s, or about the same age Bernice Novack was when her life was taken. Karas agreed that it would be an injustice if Bernice Novack’s killers lived out their lives in freedom when Bernice could not.
“Think the best part of the whole thing is that Bernice got justice,” said Rye Brook detective Terence Wilson, the lead investigator, adding: “The devil got her due.”
Tanner said afterward that his client still maintains her innocence and is likely to appeal.
Novack, who has been jailed since her arrest in 2010, is acclimating herself to prison, he said.
“Prison is not a happy place, nor should it be,” Tanner said. “Now she has a life sentence, it will set in.”
Among those in the packed courtroom Monday were several jurors who were part of the eight-week trial. They told reporters that they felt Novack and Veliz got what they deserved.
The bloodshed began on April 5, 2009, when two hit men hired by the siblings drove to Bernice Novack’s home at 2737 NE 37th St. in Fort Lauderdale. One of the hit men, Alejandro Garcia, said he hid next to Bernice Novack’s garage. As it grew dark, Novack, clad in a nightgown, came out of her house and pulled her car into the garage. Garcia followed her inside, and as she began to step out of her vehicle, he clubbed her on the head with a monkey wrench. As she screamed, he continued to beat her in the face.
“The plan was to hit her in the teeth and give her a good beating,” Garcia testified during trial.
Garcia then fled, leaving the Novack matriarch sprawled in the front seat of her car. She managed to pull herself out of the vehicle and get inside her house, where she tried to clean up the blood. But she collapsed and died in the laundry room. Her son found her body the next morning, drenched in blood with blood smeared in her car, the garage and throughout the house.
An autopsy showed that her teeth were broken, along with a finger, and that her skull was cracked. Fort Lauderdale police and the Broward medical examiner, however, ruled the death an accident, theorizing that she died from a fall.
Believing that they had gotten away with one murder, Narcy and her brother then focused on getting her husband out of the way. In addition to his $10 million estate, they intended to take control of his company, Convention Concepts Unlimited, which reportedly grossed $50 million a year.