Narcy Novack, brother, sentenced to life in prison in Fontainebleau hotel heir's killing

FILE - This 2010 file photo provided by the Broward Sheriff's Office shows Narcy Novack of Fort Lauderdale, Flor. Novack was found guilty Wednesday, June 20, 2012, of orchestrating the killings of her millionaire husband, Ben Novack Jr., and his mother, Bernice Novack, in a grab for the family estate.
File,AP Photo/Broward Sheriff's Office
Narcy Novack
File, AP Photo/Broward Sheriff's Office

(CBS/AP) WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Narcy Novack, a Florida woman convicted of orchestrating the fatal beatings of her millionaire husband and his mother, was sentenced Monday to life in prison.

Novack's brother, Cristobal Veliz was also sentenced to life Monday in federal court in White Plains, N.Y.

Novack, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., waived her right to appear at the sentencing, apparently in protest, and listened to it from a prisoner holding area in an adjoining room.

Judge Kenneth Karas called it "her final act of cowardice."

Novack did the same in June when she and her brother were convicted of hiring hit men who carried out the 2009 beating deaths of Ben Novack Jr. in New York and Bernice Novack in Florida.

"Because of Ms. Novack's greed and her selfishness and what she thought was her ability to manipulate other people, there are two innocent people - her husband and her mother in law - who are dead," the judge said.

Prosecutors said Narcy Novack feared that her husband, heir to the Miami Beach Fontainebleau hotel fortune, would divorce her, and that a prenuptial agreement would bar her from the multimillion-dollar family estate. Her motives were "hatred, greed and vengeance," the sentencing memo says.

The government said Novack recruited her brother and he hired a group of thugs who testified about slamming Bernice Novack in the teeth and head with a plumber's wrench and beating Ben Novack with barbells and slicing his eyes with a knife.

Novack's brother, Cristobal Veliz, testified at length, denying any involvement and blaming Novack's daughter, May Abad, for the killings. Abad's two sons stand to inherit the bulk of the family estate.

Novack's attorney, Howard Tanner, tried to get the judge to cap the sentence at 27 years, arguing that she had a lesser role in Bernice Novack's death. But the judge said, "The fact she wasn't there doesn't mean she had a minor role."

Tanner said he will soon file an appeal of Novack's conviction.

"She is still asserting her innocence," he said.

The attackers who cooperated with the prosecution have yet to be sentenced.

Complete Coverage of the Ben Novack Jr. Murder Trial on Crimesider