WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSMiami/AP) – Closing arguments got underway in the trial of Narcy Novack and her brother, Cristobal Veliz Tuesday, but not without some fireworks.
A federal prosecutor was telling jurors that the men who carried out the killings of Ben and Bernice Novack were hired by Novack and Veliz.
Veliz then shouted, “By May Abad!”
Abad is Narcy Novack’s daughter, who hasn’t been charged in relation to the murder. The defense team blamed her for the killings.
The judge sent the jury out of the room and angrily told Veliz that he would be ejected from the courtroom if he acted up again.
Monday, closing arguments were delayed after an attorney for Novack said he was ambushed by New York prosecutors and alleged that prosecutors improperly spoke with a defense witness just before they cross-examined him. The judge denied a mistrial but allowed the defense to bring the witness back on Tuesday.
Novack, 55, of Fort Lauderdale and her brother, Cristobal Veliz, 58, of Brooklyn, are charged with first-degree murder, racketeering and other offenses, in the 2009 beating deaths of Narcy’s millionaire husband Ben Novack Jr. in New York and mother-in-law Bernice Novack in Fort Lauderdale.
Ben Novack Jr. was the son of the founder of the famed Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. He was found beaten to death at the Hilton Hotel in Rye Brook, New York.
His mother’s body was found three months earlier in the utility room of her Fort Lauderdale home. Her death was initially ruled an accident by police and the Broward County medical examiner, but was later reclassified a homicide after the killer, Alejandro Garcia, told police that he ambushed her in her garage and beat her with a monkey wrench.
Prosecutors said Novack feared her husband would divorce her and she would lose out on the family estate.
The admitted killers testified that they were recruited and paid by Veliz and that Novack let them into the hotel room where her husband was killed.
Most of the evidence in the case against Novack is circumstantial and will come down to whether jurors believe the word of the two killers, Garcia and Joel Gonzalez. Both testified that Narcy Novack let them into the Rye Town Hilton and watched them pummel her husband with hand weights and handed them a pillow to muffle his screams. Ultimately, they said, she told them to cut out his eyes.
The hit men testified in hopes of receiving a lighter sentence.
Prosecutors said in their closing argument that jurors can believe the killers’ testimony because they had no reason to lie.
Veliz has repeatedly denied accusations from the admitted killers that he had hired and paid them.
If convicted, Narcy and her brother could be sent to prison for life.
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