WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A woman accused of arranging her millionaire husband's killing erupted at her lawyer in federal court Thursday, unhappy about having to stay in jail while pretrial proceedings drag on.
The outburst from Narcy Novack, 53, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., came as the judge was trying to set a date for the next court session. When her lawyer, Howard Tanner, mentioned that he would be away for a week in February, Novack became visibly agitated. She then startled the courtroom by saying loudly, "While you're away, I'm going to be here locked up in Valhalla."
Valhalla is the location of the Westchester County jail, which houses federal prisoners before trial. Novack has been held without bail since her arrest five months ago.
"Jail is a new experience for her," Tanner said afterward.
Novack and three others, including her brother Cristobal Veliz, are charged in the July 2009 killing of Ben Novack Jr. at the Hilton hotel in the New York City suburb of Rye Brook, N.Y., where his company had organized an Amway convention. Ben Novack's father had built the famed Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.
Prosecutors say Narcy Novack let two killers into the hotel room, watched them beat her husband with dumbbells and ordered them to cut his eyes out. Her alleged motive was to get at his multimillion-dollar estate.
Novack has also been accused her of plotting the fatal beating of her elderly mother-in-law in Florida, but she has not been charged in that death.
Narcy Novack's lawyer, Howard Tanner, says Novack was not involved in either killing.
If convicted in the New York case, she could be sentenced to life in prison.
After Novack's outburst Thursday, Tanner said, "Nobody's happy to be in jail. Jail is a new experience for her. But the lawyers have to do their jobs and have to investigate. That takes time."
Tanner is working for the same taxpayer-paid rates as court-appointed lawyers. Novack complained in September that she couldn't pay him because her assets had been seized by the federal government.
The next court session was set for Feb. 10. Tanner said he expects to file a motion to suppress any statements Novack made to law enforcement after her arrest.