Police thought Novack murder was sex game gone wrong

The Miami HeraldJanuary 20, 2012 

From the time he was a teenager, Ben Novack Jr. was obsessed with cops, Batman, sex with amputees, child pornography and sadomasochism, his wife, Narcy Novack, told investigators following Novack’s July 2009 violent slaying.

The widow, who would later be charged with killing Novack, was questioned by New York State detectives for eight grueling hours the day following his murder, telling them details about their marriage that she admitted were “embarrassing” and “kinky.”

Embarrassing or not, investigators insisted they were important, telling her his sex habits might well have played a role in his death. Novack, 52, the son of the builder of the fabled Fontainebleau resort in Miami Beach, enjoyed being tied up and he and his wife often played sex games involving bondage, according to court transcripts of his wife’s interview with homicide detectives.

“He played rough. We both played rough,’’ Narcy Novack told investigators grilling her just hours after his body was found bound and beaten in a Westchester County, New York hotel room on July 12, 2009.

Westchester detectives rigorously asked her about the days, hours and moments before her husband’s murder, and at one point, said they suspected that his slaying may have been a sex game gone awry, based on the fact that his arms and legs were bound similar to the way that aroused him during sex.

“You have to understand, this is my husband we’re talking about,’’ Narcy Novack told detectives as began to detail their sex life, all the while expressing reluctance. “And I don’t want people looking at him as a pervert.”

Replied Edward Murphy, a senior investigator with the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office: “I’m not looking at him as a pervert. We’re not taking any of this personally. Everybody has their own lives.’’

“I should not be saying this because this is a betrayal,’’ Narcy Novack replied.

“It’s not a betrayal because we need to know what happened in that room...” Murphy said.

After Murphy left the interview, Novack finally confided in Westchester County Detective Alison Carpentier, telling her that they often used handcuffs and that her husband often kept her tied up for hours at a time while he worked on his computer in another room. She said that she, at times, would tie him up, by his arms, his legs and his ankles.

“Isn’t it odd that he died in the same way?” Carpentier said, referring to the fact that Novack had been bound before he was beaten.

Novack talked about her husband and his affairs, their marital ups and downs, his quirks, his temper tantrums and his numerous expensive compulsions involving women and comic books. She also said he received counseling for his affinity for various forms of pornography. But she insisted that they had a stable marriage, and that, to her knowledge, he was not having an affair at the time of his death. Her brother, however, told detectives that he told his sister that her husband was involved with another woman, according to Murphy’s affidavit.

Narcy Novack, a former stripper, recalled how she met her husband and how they built a highly lucrative international convention planning company during their 19-year marriage. Throughout the police interview, she talked about how devoted she was to him, in spite of what she said was his horrible temper and sexual peccadilloes. She said she loved him enough to do almost anything to keep him happy.

Novack and her brother, Cristobal Veliz, 54, of Philadelphia, face federal first-degree murder charges, accused of hiring three others to kill Ben Novack and his mother, Bernice Novack, who was beaten to death three months earlier in her Fort Lauderdale home. The death of Bernice, 87, known as the “queen of the Fontainebleau” while married to hotel builder Ben Novack Sr., was initially classified as a series of accidental falls.

Novack Sr. lost the iconic hotel to bankruptcy in 1987, but Novack Jr. started his own business, Convention Concepts Unlimited, which he ran out of his mansion in Fort Lauderdale. It reportedly grossed $50 million annually. On July 12, 2009, Novack Jr. and his wife were handling a convention in Rye Brook, N.Y., for the company’s most prestigious client, Amway International. After working most of the night, he retired to bed about 6:30 a.m.

His wife told detectives that the morning of his murder, her husband was still awake, talking on the phone while lying in bed. She went to leave their suite about 7 a.m. to check on the convention’s breakfast. The convention was severely overbooked, and the Rye Brook fire marshal was called to monitor the capacity of some of the hotel’s meeting rooms.

As she was about to dart out the door of their room, she said her husband scolded her for failing to leave without giving him a “besito,” or kiss.

She said she returned to his bedside, kissed him, and left the room. It was, she said, the last time she saw him alive.

She returned to her room less than an hour later, practically tripping over her husband’s body, which was sprawled on the floor on the side of the bed, she said.

Joe Gandy, who worked for Novack Jr. for many years, questioned Narcy’s credibility in light of the fact that police believe she killed her husband.

“What do you expect?” said Gandy. “He was crazy to be with her.”

Attorneys for both Narcy Novack and Veliz are attempting to have their statements quashed because they were given without the presence of attorneys.

Federal prosecutors allege that Novack and Veliz planned the murders so that Narcy, her husband’s sole heir, would inherit both his fortune and his mother’s.

Novack’s estate is estimated to be worth $10 million, not including his extensive collection of Batman memorabilia, which was recently put up for auction, and untold amounts of money believed stashed in overseas bank accounts.

The trial is set for April 16.

To read more, visit www.miamiherald.com.

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