An epic family murder saga ended Monday when Narcy Novack, wife of Fontainebleau hotel heir Ben Novack Jr., was sentenced to life in prison.
Three years after she and her brother Cristobal planned and helped execute Ben Novack and his mother Bernice, the convicted killers, who had remained loyal to each other throughout the trial, made it clear their family ties would not extend to prison. Cristobal also was sentenced to life in prison Monday.
Each blamed the other for masterminding the murders, and their lawyers each asked the judge for leniency, claiming they were less culpable because the other sibling was pulling the strings.
The former Hialeah stripper, 56, will now spend her days in a yellow prison jumpsuit and sneakers and sleep on a cot in a small jail cell. Known as a late riser, Novack will now be forced up at the crack of dawn each day to do chores, like washing floors and peeling potatoes.
Her new life will be far cry from her jet-setting days drinking champagne and having servants to do her cooking and cleaning.
But even more devastating is that with her conviction, Narcy Novack loses all rights to the bounty she hoped to claim with his death. While she was designated as the sole beneficiary of his estimated $10 million estate, under Florida’s Slayer Statute, she now forfeits all rights to his fortune. Novack, and her brother, both natives of Ecuador, were convicted in June of plotting the July 12, 2009, killing of her husband, son of the late Ben Novack Sr., who built Miami Beach’s storied Fontainebleau hotel. Narcy Novack believed that her husband was going to leave her for another woman and that she would be left with a fraction of what she felt she was entitled.
Under Ben Novack Jr.’s will, his mother, had she lived, would have been appointed as curator of his estate and received $200,000 in cash plus $2,500 per month. Though Narcy Novack would receive the balance of her husband’s property and money, as curator, Bernice Novack would have exercised great control over the purse strings, and likely would have made life difficult for her daughter-in-law, whom she had once accused of trying to poison her.
The bloodshed began on April 5, 2009, when two hitmen hired by the siblings drove to Bernice Novack’s home, at 2737 NE 37th St. in Fort Lauderdale. One of the hitmen, Alejandro Garcia, said he hid next to Bernice Novack’s garage, near where her car was parked in the driveway.
As it grew dark, Novack, clad in a nightgown, came out of her house and pulled her car into the garage. Garcia followed her inside, and as she began to step out of her vehicle he clubbed her on the head with a monkey wrench. As she screamed, he continued to beat her in the face. “The plan was to hit her in the teeth and give her a good beating,” Garcia testified during trial.
Garcia then fled, leaving the Novack matriarch sprawled in the front seat of her car. She somehow managed to pull herself out of the vehicle and get inside her house where she tried to clean up the blood. But while trying to fix herself up, she collapsed and died in the laundry room. Her son found her body the next morning, drenched in blood. An autopsy showed that her teeth were broken, along with a finger, and that her skull was cracked. Both Fort Lauderdale police and the Broward medical examiner, however, ruled the death an accident, theorizing that she died from a fall.
Believing that they had gotten away with one murder, Narcy and her brother then focused on getting her husband out of the way. In addition to his $10 million estate, they intended to take control of his company, Convention Concepts Unlimited, which reportedly grossed $50 million a year.
On July 12, Garcia and another hired accomplice, Joel Gonzalez, were driven to Rye Brook, N.Y., a wealthy Manhattan suburb, where Ben Novack was organizing a business convention for his largest client, Amway International. That morning, after working most of the night, Ben Novack climbed into bed about 6:30 a.m. to get a few hours rest. Shortly before 7 a.m., Narcy Novack opened the door to their suite, and Garcia and Gonzalez entered.