Narcy Novack impatient in Fontainebleau Hotel-heir murder case; new lawyer for accused brother

Narcy Novack
Narcy Novack impatient in Fontainebleau Hotel heir murder case; accused brother gets new lawyer
Narcy Novack

(CBS) - Narcy Novack, the Florida woman accused of orchestrating the murder of her millionaire hotel-heir husband, Ben Novack, is growing frustrated with the slow grind of the justice system, if her demeanor in a White Plains courtroom Thursday is any indication.

Novack was visibly upset and repeatedly demanded that her attorney, Howard Tanner, tell the judge how frustrated she was that there is still no trial date, that the hearings continue to be reset and that she has been unable to view the DVDs the prosecution has provided her because the jail computers don't have the proper software.

Judge Kenneth M. Karas responded that he understood her frustration but that when there are as many charges involved as well as the possibility of the death penalty the process can only move so fast.

Another reason for the delay in scheduling a court date is Novack's brother, Christobal Veliz, who was appointed a new attorney Thursday morning who immediately asked for time to get up to speed with the case.

In letters provided to 48 Hours Mystery and shared with Crimesider, Veliz claims that his previous attorney, Stephen Lewis, was working with the prosecution to try and turn him against his sister and confess that she was responsible for both Ben Novack's murder and the death of his mother Bernice Novack.

In the letters, addressed to Judge Karas as well as an open letter to "whom it may concern," Veliz maintains his innocence, as well as that of his sister, and claims that his cries of innocence fell on deaf ears when it came to the person who was supposed to be "on [his] side," namely his attorney.

Veliz also claims that during one of his meetings with Lewis, Lewis became so angry with Veliz's continued refusal to "turn against" Novack that Lewis "pushed a table against [Veliz], cursed at [him] and said [he] was going to die [by the] death penalty," according to his letter.

Veliz claims that the confrontation was so heated that it prompted a corrections officer to knock on the door and ask if everything was okay.

According to Veliz's letters, Judge Karas removed Lewis as Veliz's counsel during a May 2011 hearing after U.S. Attorney Elliot B. Jacobson revealed that Lewis had been in contact with their office without Veliz's authority.

Lewis told Crimesider that he wasn't removed but that it was "a mutual agreement between myself and Mr. Veliz and the court that new counsel be appointed." Lewis declined to comment further as to the reasons behind the decision.

Veliz and Novack have been charged together in multiple counts of racketeering including the murders of Bernice Novack in Florida in April 2009 and the murder of Ben Novack in Rye, N.Y. in July 2009, according to the indictment filed in April 2011.

The next status hearing is scheduled for August 1, 2011.

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