BROOKLYN — A Crown Heights man has been convicted of kidnapping and murder for the 2014 botched abduction of Williamsburg businessman Menachem Stark.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “With today’s verdict this defendant has been brought to justice for the murder of Menachem Stark, which devastated his wife and seven children. This was a cold-blooded kidnapping that resulted in the death of a businessman and member of the Williamsburg community. This verdict holds the defendant accountable for his role in this tragic and senseless death.”
The District Attorney today identified the defendant as Erskin Felix, 40, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He was convicted of first-degree kidnapping, second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on May 1, 2019.
The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on January 2, 2014, at approximately 11:30 p.m., during a blizzard, the defendant and his cousin Kendel Felix, 31, ambushed Menachem Stark, 39, on the street as he left his office, located at 331 Rutledge Street in Williamsburg, and abducted him with the intention of holding him for ransom. Erskin Felix worked as a contractor for the victim and his cousin, Kendel Felix, did construction work for him.
After the victim fought unsuccessfully to escape, the defendants forced him into a Dodge minivan, bound his arms and legs with duct tape, taped his mouth and placed a ski mask over his head. Kendel drove away while Erskin restrained Stark in the back of the van by sitting on his chest, according to testimony. Erskin and Kendel picked up defendant Kendall Felix (Erskin’s brother) and they drove to the home of Irvine Henry (another cousin), the evidence showed.
Upon arrival, they discovered that the victim was dead due to Erskin’s actions in trying to subdue him, according to the evidence. The defendants attempted to return to the kidnapping scene to retrieve the victim’s Lexus SUV, but saw police on the scene.
Erskin then directed Kendel and Kendall to drive to Long Island to dispose of the body, the evidence showed. 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 the partially burned body in a garbage dumpster behind a gas station in Great Neck, Long Island. An autopsy determined that the cause of death was asphyxia by compression of the neck and chest.
A jury convicted Kendel Felix of first-degree kidnapping and second-degree murder in September 2016. He is awaiting sentencing.
Kendall Felix pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy and first-degree hindering prosecution last month and was sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison over the objection of the prosecution.
Irvine Henry pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution and attempted tampering with physical evidence in February 2017. He is awaiting sentencing.
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. Detective Herbert Martin and other members of the Brooklyn North Homicide Squad assisted in the investigation, under the supervision of Lieutenant John Tennant.