FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Brooklyn Man Indicted for Murder of Williamsburg Landlord
During Botched Robbery and Kidnapping
He and Two Other Defendants Also Indicted for Conspiracy
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, today announced a new indictment in the 2014 abduction and murder of Williamsburg landlord Menachem Stark. A 38-year-old Brooklyn man has been indicted for murder and kidnapping, while he and two co-defendants have also been indicted for conspiracy.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This indictment is the latest step in our journey toward justice for Menachem Stark, his seven children and the rest of the family his killers took him from. The tireless work of NYPD investigators and prosecutors from my Office will ensure that all involved in this grievous crime are held to answer for their despicable acts. ”
Commissioner O’Neill said, “This was an especially callous crime, where the defendants acted on a desire for money alone. When the robbery led to the victim’s death, the defendants conspired to dump the body and set it on fire in a failed attempt to obstruct justice. I’m thankful to the members of the NYPD and the Brooklyn DA’s office who conducted the investigation that led to today’s indictment.”
The Acting District Attorney identified the defendants as Erskin Felix, 38, and his brother, Kendall Felix, 28, both of Crown Heights, Brooklyn; and cousin Irvine Henry, 35, also of Crown Heights. Kendall Felix and Irvine Henry were arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which they are variously charged with second- and fourth- degree conspiracy, tampering with physical evidence, attempted tampering with physical evidence and first-degree hindering prosecution. They were remanded without bail and ordered to return to court on February 8, 2017. Erskin Felix will be arraigned later today on charges of second-degree murder and first- and second-degree kidnapping. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of the top count of murder. Kendall Felix and Irvine Henry face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the top count of second-degree conspiracy.
A jury has already convicted Kendel Felix, Erskin’s cousin, of first-degree kidnapping and second-degree murder in the case; he was arrested in April 2014 and tried in September 2016. He is awaiting sentencing and faces up to 25 years to life in prison.
The Acting District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, cousins Erskin and Kendel Felix accosted Stark on the street as he left his office, located at 331 Rutledge Street in Williamsburg, on January 2, 2014, at approximately 11:30 p.m. After he fought unsuccessfully to escape, Stark was forced into a waiting vehicle and driven away from the location. Kendall and Henry allegedly joined their relatives. At some point, apparently while being restrained, Stark died of asphyxia.
According to the investigation, Erskin Felix, who was in the construction trade with Kendel Felix and Irvine Henry, had done work for Stark. Erskin Felix allegedly planned to extort money from Stark and enlisted Kendel Felix to help kidnap him, forming a conspiracy which also involved both Kendall Felix and Irvine Henry.
Upon discovering that Stark was dead, the four relatives allegedly returned to Rutledge Street, intending to retrieve physical evidence and dispose of Stark’s body. Upon arrival, Erskin and Irvine Henry got out of the vehicle, only to find the crime scene already flooded with police. As alleged, Erskin then directed Kendel and Kendall to go elsewhere to dispose of the body. They drove to Nassau County, threw the body in a dumpster and set it on fire.
Approximately 17 hours later, a Nassau County police officer found Stark’s partially burned body in a garbage dumpster behind a gas station in Great Neck, Long Island. The Nassau County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy on Stark and determined that the cause of death was asphyxia by compression of the neck and chest.
The case was investigated by New York City Police Detective Christopher Scarry of the 90th Precinct Detective Squad, under the supervision of Lieutenant Seamus Doherty, and Detective Matthew Collins (retired), Detective Herbert Martin, Detective Albert Brust and other members of the Brooklyn North Homicide Squad, under the supervision of Lieutenant John Tennant.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Howard Jackson, Counsel to the Homicide Bureau, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Emily Dean, of the District Attorney’s Homicide Bureau, under the supervision of Kenneth Taub, Chief of the Homicide Bureau, and by Assistant District Attorney Christopher Blank, a Bureau Chief in the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt