Narcy Novack Trial: Hit Men Detail Grisly Murders of Ben Novack, Jr., Mother

by at .

Bernice Novack, 87, decided to move her car into her garage as it grew dark.

That was when Alejandro Garcia, who'd been hiding behind garbage cans near her driveway, says he snuck up behind her and murdered her.

"She looked at me and right away I hit her," Garcia told a jury, speaking through a Spanish interpreter. "She looked at me and she screamed."

The dramatic testimony by the prosecution's star witness came in a trial for the 2009 murders of Novack and her millionaire son Ben Novack Jr.


The younger Novack once owned Miami Beach's storied Fountainbleau Hotel.

Amid allegations of jealousy, betrayal and greed, Ben's wife Narcy Novack, a former stripper from Ecuador, stands accused of arranging both murders.

The alleged motive: Narcy wanted her husband dead because she knew he was having an affair with a former $300-an-hour call girl and feared he'd divorce her, leaving her broke because of their prenuptial agreement. His will left millions to her.

Two admitted hit men, including Garcia, have pleaded guilty and are testifying.

With its tawdry revelations and moneyed players, the case revealed a dark side to the glitz and glamour surrounding the Fountainbleau.

But the trial is also intensely personal for close friends and family, no more so than for Maxine Fiel – Bernice's sister and Ben Jr.'s aunt.

Fiel refused to believe police's initial finding that Bernice's death was from a series of accidental falls, and pressed them to keep investigating.

She pushed investigators and the medical examiner, even questioning witnesses herself, until they reclassified it as a homicide in July 2010.

"I hope she [Narcy] never sees the light of day," Fiel, 88, told People. "Women's jails aren't easy. She'll get justice there. Bernice must have been frightened to death. What an end to her life. Mother and son brutally murdered."

"This is a horrible woman. Horrible."

Ben Jr.'s ties to the Fontainebleau Hotel ended with bankruptcy in 1977. He went on to run a successful events-planning company in Florida.

A few years later he met Narcy and they wed in 1991. It was a stormy marriage: Ben Jr. filed for divorce at one point, but they reconciled.

In 2008, Ben Jr. answered an online ad placed by a porn actress named Rebecca Bliss, working at the time as a high-priced prostitute.

Bliss, 40, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., testified that they began a love affair and that Ben Jr. was going to leave his wife shortly before he died.

She said Narcy got wind of the affair and offered her $10,000 to end it.

"She said that if she couldn't have him, no other woman was going to have him," Bliss told Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Dember.

Narcy, 54, responded by hatching a plot along with her brother Cristobal Veliz, 57, prosecutors allege. Veliz allegedly recruited two men from a Miami car wash to help with their scheme – Garcia, 34, and Joel Gonzalez, 27.

In April 2009, Garcia beat Bernice Novack to death with a monkey wrench at her Fort Lauderdale home, Garcia said.

Three months later, on a business trip to Rye Brook, N.Y., Ben Novack Jr. was beaten so brutally by Garcia that 20 of his ribs were cracked, his head was bashed in and his mouth was taped so tightly that he choked, authorities said.

His eyes were gouged out as well.

Narcy helped muffle her husband's screams with a pillow, Garcia testified. Gonzalez helped Garcia kill Ben Jr., according to prosecutors.

"It was a personal killing," Westchester County prosecutor Perry Perrone told jurors in opening arguments. "It was a sadistic killing."

Narcy and her brother are charged with racketeering and other offenses for arranging both those murders.

Defense attorneys have pointed the finger at Narcy's own daughter, Maya Abad, 36, in their opening arguments, saying she framed her mother.

"(Abad's) going to get everything," said Howard Tanner, Narcy's lawyer. "Her kids are going to get everything. There's only one person standing in her way."

Abad, who went into hiding with her teenaged sons after the murders due to death threats, said she wasn't surprised her mother is trying to blame her.

"This whole thing is a joke," she told the Miami Herald. "To me, they are going to say whatever they can to save their own asses.”

Show Comments