Narcy Novack Sentenced to Life in Prison in Murder of Husband, Mother-In-Law

Sentencing Monday for South Florida woman convicted in infamous murders

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    Narcy Novack is accused of murdering her husband, Ben Novack Jr., in New York. Novack Jr. was the heir to the Fontainebleau hotel fortune. Former Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Steve Palazzo talks about the case. (Published Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012)

    The Fort Lauderdale woman convicted of orchestrating the murders of her millionaire husband and his mother was sentenced to life behind bars Monday.

    Narcy Novack was sentenced Monday in a federal court in White Plains, N.Y., in the deaths of Ben Novack Jr. and Bernice Novack.

    The 56-year-old wasn't in the courtroom to hear the sentence after she waived her right to appear.

    "Because of Ms. Novack's greed and her selfishness and what she thought was her ability to manipulate other people, there are two innocent people — her husband and her mother-in-law — who are dead," said Judge Kenneth Karas.

    "At the end of the day she's a coward," added Karas, referring to her absence in court.

    Her brother, Cristobal Veliz, was also sentenced to life in prison. Both were convicted of murder, domestic violence, stalking, money laundering and witness tampering.

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    Narcy Novack is accused of killing her husband, Ben Novack, who is the heir to the Fountainbleau fortune. (Published Thursday, Feb 9, 2012)

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    Novack Jr. was found beaten to death in his Rye Brook, N.Y. Hilton hotel room in July 2009. Prosecutors said Narcy Novack let two killers into the hotel room, watched as they beat her husband with dumbbells and ordered them to cut his eyes out as he lay with his hands and legs bound with tape.

    Bernice Novack, 86, was found dead inside her Fort Lauderdale home just two months before her son was killed. The hired killers testified they slammed her in the teeth and head with a plumber's wrench.

    Her death had initially been ruled an accident and was thought to have happened after she slipped and fell.

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    The U.S. attorney's office had asked Karas to impose life sentences. Prosecutor Elliott Jacobsen wrote in court papers that Novack and Veliz "engaged in the very worst criminal conduct imaginable."
     
    Novack's lawyer, Howard Tanner, told the judge that federal guidelines would be satisfied with a 27-year sentence.
     
    "She would be released from prison an elderly woman with virtually no possessions or home," Tanner wrote. But a sentence short of life in prison would give her at least "a chance of reformation and rehabilitation," he said before sentencing.
     
    Prosecutors said Narcy Novack feared that her husband would divorce her, and that a prenuptial agreement would bar her from the multimillion-dollar family estate. Her motives were "hatred, greed and vengeance," the sentencing memo says.

    Ben Novack's father, Ben Novack Sr., built Miami Beach's Fontainebleau hotel.
     
    One key witness at the trial was Rebecca Bliss, a former prostitute and porn actress, who said she was having an affair with Ben Novack when he was killed.
     
    She said Narcy Novack offered her $10,000 to end the affair. According to Bliss, Novack said that, "If she couldn't have him, no other woman was going to have him."

    Veliz testified at length, denying any involvement and blaming Novack's daughter, May Abad, for the killings. Abad's 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.

    The case garnered national attention and was featured on NBC's "Dateline."