“Mastermind” behind botched kidnapping convicted of murder
The alleged “mastermind” behind the 2014 kidnapping and accidental killing of a Williamsburg landlord was convicted of murder Monday.
Erskin Felix was accused of planning and carrying out the bungled kidnapping of Menachem Stark, whose shocking murder rocked Williamsburg’s Hasidic community. Felix was also convicted of kidnapping and tampering with evidence, after a three-week trial before Justice Danny Chun.
Erskin and his cousin Kendel Felix abducted Stark outside his Williamsburg office on Jan. 2, 2014, according to prosecutors.
They planned to hold Stark – who they had worked for in the past – for ransom.
They stuffed him into a Dodge Minivan, bound him with duct tape and put a ski mask over his head, prosecutors said.
While Kendel drove, Erskin stayed in the backseat with Stark. He sat on Stark to restrain him, according to trial testimony.
When the kidnappers reached their destination, they realized Stark had suffocated when Erskin sat on him.
Erskin told his brother Kendall Felix, along with Kendel, to take Stark’s body to Long Island, where they threw it in a dumpster and set it on fire. Less than 24 hours later, a Nassau County police officer found the charred remains.
Kendall Felix pleaded guilty to conspiracy and hindering prosecution in March, and was hit with a minimum of two years and four months to a maximum of seven years in prison. Stark’s family was outraged at the lenient sentence.
Erskin Felix faces 25 years to life in prison. His sentencing is set for May 1.
“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,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
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