What to Know
- Developer Menachem Stark was abducted as he left his office during a snowstorm in 2014; his partially burned body was found the next day
- Authorities say a brother and cousin snatched him off the street and restrained him in a van; he died of asphyxia from neck/head compression
- Four male relatives were all charged with various crimes in his death; one convicted of kidnapping and murder was sentenced to 24 to life
One of four relatives charged in the deadly abduction of a Brooklyn real estate developer more than five years ago has been sentenced to 24 years to life in prison, prosecutors said Thursday.
Erskin Felix, 40, of Crown Heights was convicted of first-degree kidnapping, second-degree murder and evidence tampering in April following a jury trial. Authorities have said he and his cousin ambushed Williamsburg businessman Menachem Stark as the 39-year-old left his office during a blizzard late the night of Jan. 2, 2014. They kidnapped him, planning to hold him for ransom.
Stark fought to escape, but the two forced him into a minivan, bound his arms and legs with duct tape, taped his mouth and put a ski mask over his head. The cousin drove off while Felix sat on Stark's chest in the back of the van to restrain him, authorities have said. They then picked up Felix's brother and drove to the home of another cousin, prosecutors have said.
Once they got there, they found Stark dead. His death was caused by Felix's efforts to subdue him, the evidence showed, according to court documents. The suspects went back to the kidnapping scene to try to take Stark's Lexus SUV but saw cops on the scene and drove away. They then dumped Stark's body in a dumpster on Long Island and set it on fire. His remains were found 17 hours later.
The three other relatives charged in the case have been sentenced for various crimes.
“This defendant orchestrated the callous kidnapping that led to the murder of Menachem Stark, a husband, father and beloved member of the Williamsburg community," Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said of Felix Thursday. "With today’s substantial prison sentence this defendant has now been brought to justice and held accountable for his role in this senseless loss of life.”