Woman accused of husband's murder faces more accusations

FORT LAUDERDALE — A woman already charged with orchestrating the brutal slaying of her wealthy hotel heir husband in New York was accused by a prosecutor Wednesday of plotting a similar beating death of her elderly mother-in-law in Florida, all in hopes of reaping millions of dollars from their wills.

Narcy Novack, 53, and her brother hired two men to assault her 86-year-old mother-in-law, who was beaten with a monkey wrench at her Fort Lauderdale home in April 2009, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elliott Jacobson said at a bail hearing for Novack involving the New York charges.

Three months later, her husband, Ben Novack, was beaten to death at a suburban New York hotel with dumbbells carried by assailants, one of whom also gouged out her husband's eyes with a utility knife upon her orders, Jacobson said. "In Spanish, she urged them to cut out his eyes and finish him," he said.

Ben Novack's father founded Miami Beach's famed Fontainebleau Hotel, where the family lived in the penthouse and hobnobbed with movie stars, singers and even gangsters. Ben Novack had one of the world's largest collections of Batman memorabilia — including a replica of the Batmobile from the 1960s TV show, figurines and costumes — and his mother left her estate to him. Narcy Novack stood to inherit about $10 million after her husband's death.

In Florida, neither Narcy Novack nor her brother, 56-year-old Cristobal Veliz, have been charged with the elderly woman's killing. Despite a broken jaw and blood smeared on her car and on walls in the house, Bernice Novack's death had twice been ruled an accident by the Broward County medical examiner.

Jacobson said federal investigators asked the Westchester County, N.Y., medical examiner to look at the evidence, and the new conclusion was reached.

Westchester County officials declined Wednesday to discuss the new report or release it, citing the ongoing investigation. Fort Lauderdale police have stood by their decision that Bernice Novack's death was accidental, and have declined to comment since the charges against Narcy Novack were unveiled last week.

Narcy Novack's attorney, Howard Tanner, insisted she was innocent of her husband's killing and had nothing to do with her mother-in-law's death.

Woman accused of husband's murder faces more accusations 07/14/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 11:24pm]

    

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