WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — A Florida woman convicted of arranging the killings of her millionaire husband and mother-in-law will hear her sentence Monday — if she's in the courtroom.
A disgusted Narcy Novack, apparently certain she'd be found guilty, decided not to attend in June when a federal jury's verdict was read. "We all wondered, 'Where's Narcy?'" one juror said. She and her brother, Cristobal Veliz, were convicted of hiring hit men to carry out the 2009 beating deaths of Ben Novack Jr. in a suburban New York hotel room and Bernice Novack at her Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home.
Ben Novack was the son of the man who built the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach, which appeared in the movies "Scarface" and "Goldfinger." The sentence will be bad news too — the U.S. attorney's office has asked Judge Kenneth Karas to send Novack to prison for life, and her own lawyer is suggesting a 27-year stretch. He argues that she had only a minor role in Bernice Novack's death and was "substantially less culpable than other participants."
He also said her crime-free background and her age should be considered. Veliz's lawyer has not submitted a sentencing recommendation. Novack, 56, an Ecuador native who lived in Fort Lauderdale, would likely die in prison even under the 27-year scenario, defense attorney Howard Tanner said. But it would give her at least "a chance of reformation and rehabilitation."
"She would be released from prison an elderly woman with virtually no possessions or home," he told the judge. "Her future is in all respects bleak and limited." Prosecutor Elliott Jacobson said it should stay that way forever. He told the judge in court papers that Novack and Veliz "engaged in the very worst criminal conduct imaginable."
"They are evil; they are dangerous; they are remorseless; and they are relentless," he wrote. He said the killings "involved particularly cruel, sadistic and gratuitous savagery seldom seen in the annals of crime."
Prosecutors said Novack feared that her husband, who was having an affair, would divorce her, and that a prenuptial agreement would bar her from the multimillion-dollar family estate. She recruited her brother and he hired a group of thugs who testified about slamming Bernice Novack in the teeth and head with a plumber's wrench and beating Ben Novack with barbells and slicing his eyes with a knife.
Veliz denied any involvement and blamed Narcy Novack's daughter for the killings. Her two sons stand to inherit the bulk of the family estate, which includes Ben Novack's large collection of Batman memorabilia.
Narcy Novack did not testify. But before her arrest she gave police a striking account of her marriage, including that her husband had a fetish for amputees. She also said she once went into a hospital to have a broken nose repaired and awoke with breast implants she hadn't requested.
In addition to the murder charge, the defendants were convicted of domestic violence, stalking, money laundering and witness tampering.