2 brothers arrested in Williamsburg botched kidnapping, murder

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Friday, October 21, 2016
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Eyewitness News reporter Darla Miles has the latest from the courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn.

WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Two brothers suspected in the abduction and murder of Brooklyn landlord Menachem Stark - a 2014 murder that prompted public speculation about his business dealings and debts - are in custody in an apparent bungled kidnap-for-ransom plot.

Kendall Felix, 28, was arrested in Lower Manhattan Thursday night. When his brother Erskin Felix, 38, went to the 90th Precinct in Brooklyn to look for him, he also was taken into custody.

Erskin Felix was charged with murder and kidnapping, while Kendall Felix was charged with hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence.

"Investigation never ends, even when you go to trial," said Chief Robert Boyce, NYPD Chief of Detectives.

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, "(Erskin Felix) is alleged to be the mastermind whose plot to kidnap Menachem Stark and extort money from him ended with his death. This long-term, complex investigation leading to the arrest of this defendant and his co-defendant is testament to the commitment of this office and the New York City Police Department to get justice for the Stark family."

The arrests came just weeks after their cousin, Kendel Felix, 29, became the first person convicted in the killing. He is expected to be sentenced Nov. 2. He faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

In a videotaped confession made following his April 2014 arrest, Kendel Felix, a carpenter who once worked for Stark, also claimed Erskin Felix was the mastermind of the scheme.

The 39-year-old Stark was abducted outside his Williamsburg, Brooklyn, office during a botched robbery in the middle of a snowstorm on Jan. 2, 2014.

He was accosted on the street and dragged into a minivan during a struggle.

According to the Brooklyn District Attorney's office, Erskin Felix is accused of enlisting Kendel Felix to help kidnap Stark to extort money from him. During the course of the kidnapping, however, Stark resisted and was asphyxiated when one of the kidnappers sat on his chest.

Kendel and Erskin are accused of picking up his brother, Kendall, to help get rid of the body. Officials said they drove to Nassau County, threw the body in a dumpster and set it on fire.

While numerous theories emerged in the months following the murder, most centered on money the Hasidic landlord owed and his trail of bankruptcies, detectives zeroed in on the carpenter who plotted with family members to abduct him for money.

In the confession, Kendel Felix also named a fourth man, who remains uncharged.