. Retired police Detective Robert Crispin was on a mission.
His assignment: to poke through discarded orange peels, sour milk cartons, sloppy leftovers, kitty litter, piles of wet garbage and probably even some dog poop.
He called the job, for which he was paid handsomely, a “trash pull.”
It was not just any garbage, but garbage belonging to May Abad.
Abad, whose mother Narcy Novack is facing murder charges in the slayings of her husband, Fort Lauderdale millionaire Ben Novack Jr., and his mother, Bernice Novack, learned for the first time Thursday that her mother’s next line of defense was rooting through her rubbish.
Crispin, who is now a private investigator, said he was paid $5,000 to sort through Abad’s trash six times between November 2009 and February 2010.
From those “pulls” Crispin found a few unpaid electric bills, a late-rent notice and a crumpled two-page note in which Abad listed future goals that included paying off $10,000 in debt, purchasing property, buying a waterfront home, and spending more time with her children after retiring with a few million bucks in the bank.
“In your opinion, does this seem like the kind of list of someone who wanted a lot of money?” Narcy Novack’s lawyer asked Crispin during the murder trial, now in its ninth week.
“Yes,” Crispin replied.
The relevance? To point out that Abad had a motive to want her stepfather dead. She was hurting financially and had big dreams.
For Abad, however, her mother’s trash-picking adventure was nothing short of a desperate stunt.
“It’s disgusting,” Abad told The Miami Herald Thursday. “You have to go through my trash? How desperate can you be?”
Abad, 36, a single mother of three boys, works as a bartender. Even during the time she worked in her step-father’s business she kept a part-time job and said she rarely, if ever, took money from her mother and stepfather that she didn’t earn, largely because she never wanted them to hold it over her head.
“I’ve worked very hard my whole life,’’ said Abad, who has a 1-year-old son she has named after Ben Novack.
Trash-picking, while a common police investigative tool, is just the latest exploit in the murder-for-hire case that has pitted Abad against her mother and uncle.
Narcy Novack, 55, and her brother, Cristobal Veliz, 58, face two counts of first-degree murder, racketeering, money laundering and other charges in connection with the slayings of her husband, a successful convention planner, and his mother, who was married to the builder of Miami Beach’s landmark Fontainebleau hotel.
The sister-brother duo is accused of hiring two hit men in Miami to first attack Bernice, 86, with a monkey wrench in her Fort Lauderdale home on April 6, 2009, then three months later, travel to New York to assault Ben, who was staying at the Hilton Rye Town attending one of his company-managed business conventions. The two men, Alejandro Garcia and Joel Gonzalez, have testified that Veliz hired them at the behest of his sister, who claimed her husband was a pedophile who indulged in bizarre sex fetishes.
Narcy Novack is the sole beneficiary of her husband’s estate, but should she be convicted of his murder and go to jail, the bulk of the estate will go to Abad’s two teenage sons.
Abad, who worked with her stepfather and mother in their convention planning business, said she was always writing down short and long-term goals as part of the many life-enhancing workshops she attended, both while working for Novack and since.
Thus far, she has not been called to testify. She lives in South Florida, but her address was redacted from the bills shown in court Thursday. Authorities are keeping her under watch, as the killers testified that her other uncle, Carlos Veliz, tried to hire a thug to attack her.
Her latest goal is to try to relieve some of the stress of raising her children and dealing with chaos of the trial.
“If they went through my trash, and happened to find the diet menu my trainer gave me, please ask them if I can have it back,’’ she said.