Murders of Bernice and Ben Novack, Jr.

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In 2009, Bernice Novack and her son Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel heir Ben Novack, Jr, were murdered three months apart. Narcy Novack (nee Narcisa Veliz Pacheco; born 1947), Ben's estranged wife, was convicted of orchestrating the murders and after a highly publicized trial, was sentenced to life in prison.[1]

Crimes[edit]

On the morning of July 12, 2009, Ben Novack, Jr., was found bludgeoned and suffocated to death in the penthouse suite at the Hilton Hotel in Rye Brook, New York. He was bound with duct tape and his eyes were gouged out. At the time of his death, he was having an affair with porn actress Rebecca Bliss. He was also the heir to a multi-million dollar estate.[2]

Three months earlier, Ben's 86 year-old mother, Bernice, was found dead in her Fort Lauderdale, Florida home on April 5, 2009. Her death was initially ruled to be the result of an accidental fall while trying to get out of her car[3] until her son's murder three months later, and a subsequent police investigation revealed that the cause of her death was homicide.[4]

Trial[edit]

Narcy Novack was arrested for the murders of her husband and mother-in-law in July 2010, three days shy of a year after her husband's death. Her brother, Cristobal Veliz, was also accused of enlisting Alejandro Gutierrez-Garcia, Joel Gonzalez, and Denis Ramirez to participate in both murders.[5] Novack and Veliz were tried together in a federal courtroom in White Plains, New York in 2012. The duo's defense was to blame Novack's only daughter, May Abad, for having orchestrated the killings, stating that she was motivated to collect on Ben Novack, Jr.'s estate, including a large collection of Batman memorabilia.[6] Prosecutors alleged that Novack was afraid that her husband would leave her for his mistress, and that a prenuptial agreement would only leave her $65,000 instead of the bulk of her late husband's estate.[7] They claimed she was motivated by "hatred, greed, and vengeance."[6]

Verdict[edit]

At the conclusion of the trial, Novack and Veliz were each convicted of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, domestic violence, stalking, money laundering, and witness tampering. Novack waived her right to appear in court when the guilty verdict was read. She also did not appear in court when she was sentenced to life in prison.[6] Novack is currently incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn in Brooklyn, New York.[8] Veliz was also sentenced to life in prison and he is currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary, Big Sandy in Inez, Kentucky.[8] Gutierrez-Garcia, Gonzalez, and Ramirez all pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

In accordance with the slayer rule, Narcy Novack will be unable to inherit her husband's estate. Ben Novack, Jr.'s estate, valued at $4.2 million, is expected to go to Novack's daughter May Abad and her two adult sons.[2]

In the media[edit]

Novack's case has been televised on several programs including My Dirty Little Secret (ID), Dateline NBC,[7] Snapped,[9] and True Crime with Aphrodite Jones.[10]

References[edit]