Boyfriend charged in slaying of West Babylon woman
GalleriesMandy Jo Jenkins murder case
The boyfriend of a 30-year-old woman who had reported her mysterious disappearance two months ago was charged with her murder Friday, almost three weeks after her bullet-riddled body was found dumped near train tracks in North Lindenhurst.
Joseph DeFelice, 31, who was recently extradited from Florida, pleaded not guilty in a Suffolk County court to charges that he killed his live-in girlfriend, Mandy Jo Jenkins, formerly of West Babylon.
But the charges against DeFelice unsealed Friday did little to explain what authorities think motivated the attack. Prosecutor Robert Biancavilla said there was a second suspect in connection with Jenkins' murder who is expected to be arraigned early next month. He declined to name the suspect.
Biancavilla said in court that DeFelice gave police a 12-page statement confessing his role in Jenkins' slaying.
DeFelice, who did not speak in court, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, criminal facilitation and hindering prosecution.
"At this point, he maintains his innocence," DeFelice's attorney, George Duncan of Hauppauge, told reporters, adding he is awaiting additional information from prosecutors.
Early on Aug. 23, DeFelice called 911 and reported Jenkins missing from the warehouse where they were living in North Amityville, Suffolk police said. Homicide detectives said he remained at the scene, but was unable to provide a credible story about how she disappeared.
In the Halloween merchandise warehouse, where the couple lived in an office, there were "definite signs of violence and a struggle," Suffolk police Det. Lt. Gerard Pelkofsky said at the time, calling the circumstances "suspicious."
Sheriff's deputies in Palm Beach, Fla., arrested DeFelice on Oct. 12 and he was extradited back to Suffolk County.
At his arraignment Friday, George Allen, 33, of West Babylon, who told reporters he is Jenkins' half brother, held up a picture of Jenkins and yelled, "Murderer, murderer" at DeFelice before storming out of the courtroom visibly distraught.
Lisa Koch, 29, of West Babylon, said she was close friends with Jenkins for 15 years. "It was senseless," said Koch of her friend's death.
Before the hearing, Allen said he last saw Jenkins two weeks before she was reported missing, when she came to his house. He said Jenkins told him she was afraid of DeFelice.
Jenkins was shot multiple times early in the morning on Aug. 23 at an unspecified location, prosecutors said. Her body was dumped near railroad tracks in North Lindenhurst. It was found Oct. 3 and identified through fingerprints.
Before his arrest, Biancavilla said DeFelice gave investigators six different versions of Jenkins' death and the removal of her body. He then went to Florida, Biancavilla said.
Two of Jenkins' other siblings were in court but did not speak to reporters.