MIAMI (CBS4) – In July 2010, Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore announced the indictment of Narcy Novack for the murder of her husband a year earlier.
“Police and prosecutors working together uncovered what was nothing short of a diabolical plan by a woman who was intent on eliminating her husband and taking his family fortune for her own,” DiFiore said at a press conference.
Narcy Novack had claimed to have stumbled upon her husband’s bloody corpse in their hotel room in Rye Brooke, New York. She said she had no idea who killed him.
Ben Novack Jr. was beaten to death with barbells. Hands and legs bound with duct tape, eyes slit with a knife; the savageness of Novack’s murder suggested it was more than just a robbery – it was personal.
The day after her husband’s murder, Narcy Novack was questioned for eight hours by detectives. CBS4 News obtained a copy of the interview tapes in which detectives ask her the point blank question.
“You want me to ask you straight out, `Did you have any involvement in your husband’s death?’” Westchester County Police Detective Alison Carpentier asked.
“No,” Novack declared.
But it was clear detectives didn’t believe Narcy. At one point, Edward Murphy, an investigator with the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, told Narcy they have a witness that claims to have seen two men go into the hotel room and a woman leave the room a few minutes later
“That woman has to be you,” Murphy said.
“Beats me,” replied Narcy.
According to a series of indictments, prosecutors believe Narcy conspired with her brother, Cristobol Veliz, to have Novack killed. Investigators believe Narcy Novack opened the door for the two alleged hired killers — Joel Gonzalez and Alejandro Gutierrez-Garcia — allowing them into the hotel room and commit the murder.
“Wait a minute, you’re telling me I saw the people that went into the room,” Narcy asked the detectives questioning her.
“I’m saying you opened the door for them,” Murphy said.
“No, I did not,” Narcy said.
“You had to open it,” Carpentier said.
The man who allegedly drove Gonzalez and Gutierrez-Garcia to the hotel to commit the murder has already pleaded guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors, Gonzalez and Gutierrez-Garcia are also believed to be cooperating with investigators – providing them details from inside the room. Including the claim that it was Narcy who ordered the killers to cut out Ben Novack’s eyes and that she handed the men a pillow to cover Novack’s face and muffle his screams during the assault.
Narcy’s motive for allegedly killing her husband was simple – money. She feared that Ben – a notorious womanizer whose father once owned the famed Fontainebleau Hotel — was preparing to divorce her.
But Narcy was determined not be cut out of the family fortune. If anything, prosecutors say, she wanted it all for herself and had already taken steps to seize it.
“Okay, point blank I have no clue what happened,” she told detectives in 2009. “I had nothing to do with my husband’s death.”
Tracing through Narcy’s relationship with Ben Novack, investigators touched on her ties to her mother-in-law, Bernice Novack.
Narcy admitted that when she first met Ben, Bernice did not like her.
“She find a lot of faults in me,” Narcy recalled. “That was the Jewish mother. I did not take it personally.”
But she said Bernice grew to love her. In fact, Narcy claimed Bernice would do anything for her
“In the end, my mother-in-law will give her life for me,” she declared.
Today, prosecutors say it wasn’t so much a matter of Bernice Novack giving her life for Narcy as it was Narcy deciding to take Bernice’s.
In April 2009, three months before Ben Novack was murdered, Bernice, was found dead. At the time, her death was ruled an accident.
Prosecutors now say Narcy arranged to have Gutierrez-Garcia surprise Bernice in her driveway. Before Bernice could get out of her car, the man with a dragon tattoo and a lazy right eye struck her repeatedly in the face with a monkey wrench.
Believing she was dead, Gutierrez-Garcia ran off. But the ever defiant 87-year-old former queen of the Fontainebleau, regained consciousness and staggered into her home – a trail of blood documenting every agonizing step.
Crime scene photos portray the eerie similarity in which both mother and son would be found – face down, alone and surrounded by blood.
Narcy told detectives Bernice was cremated and her remains scattered on the grounds of the Fontainebleau.
She said Ben wanted to join his mother there.
“That was their castle,” Narcy said. “And my husband said he wanted to be by the tree where his tree house was when he lived at the hotel.”
Before the interview was over, one of the investigators made a promise to Novack
“We always get to the bottom of it,” Murphy said. “And I promise you, we’ll get to the bottom of this one.”
Novack is currently in federal custody in New York. Her trial is scheduled for April.