NEW YORK, United States, Thursday December 22, 2016 – A St Lucian man, his brother and their cousin are facing fresh charges arising out of the murder of a slumlord in Brooklyn, New York almost three years ago.
Erskin Felix, the reported ringleader in the killing of Menachem Stark, whose body was found dumped and burned in January 2014, was yesterday arraigned on second-degree murder, and first- and second-degree kidnapping and conspiracy charges. The 38-year-old’s cousin, Kendel Felix, has already been convicted of first-degree kidnapping and second-degree murder and is awaiting sentencing, following his trial in September.
Erskin’s 28-year-old brother, Kendall, and another cousin, Irvine Henry, 35, were also arraigned yesterday on an indictment in which they are charged with second- and fourth- degree conspiracy, tampering with physical evidence, attempted tampering with physical evidence and first-degree hindering prosecution.
“This indictment is the latest step in our journey toward justice for Menachem Stark, his seven children and the rest of the family his killers took him from,” said Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
When he appeared in court yesterday, Erskin entered a not guilty plea through his lawyer, Mark Pollard, who said his client had been diagnosed with a brain tumour, according to the New York Post.
According to the investigation, Erskin – who was in the construction trade with Kendel and Henry – had done work for Stark, and had allegedly planned to extort money from him. He enlisted Kendel to help kidnap him, forming a conspiracy which also involved Kendall and Henry.
Erskin and Kendel accosted Stark on the street as he left his office, around 11:30 p.m. on January 2. He fought unsuccessfully to escape, and was forced into a waiting vehicle and driven away from the location. Kendall and Henry allegedly then joined their relatives. At some point, apparently while being restrained, Stark died of asphyxia.
When they realized that, the four relatives allegedly returned to the scene of the kidnapping, intending to retrieve physical evidence and dispose of Stark’s body. But when they arrived and Erskin and Henry got out of the vehicle, the crime scene was already flooded with police. Erskin allegedly then directed Kendel and Kendall to go elsewhere to dispose of the body and they drove to Nassau County, threw Stark’s body in a garbage dumpster behind a gas station and set it on fire.
Approximately 17 hours later, a Nassau County police officer found Stark’s partially burned body. An autopsy determined that the cause of death was asphyxia by compression of the neck and chest.