For hours, a jittery and emotional North Amityville man had been telling police that a masked man had held him at gunpoint as a friend shot his girlfriend and took her body away, a Suffolk detective testified Friday -- until the story changed sharply.
Joseph DeFelice, 34, said his friend David Newbeck, 36, showed up about 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 23, 2010, at the Halloween products warehouse where he lived with Mandy Jo Jenkins, shot her and left, Det. Guido Cirenza testified. Cirenza said he asked for more detail on the other man, whom DeFelice had sometimes described as wearing a bandanna and other times wearing a ski mask.
"At that point, he said there was no second suspect in the vehicle; that David acted alone," Cirenza said. And then DeFelice added that he'd buried a shell casing behind the warehouse.
DeFelice is on trial before Suffolk County Court Judge John Toomey Jr. in Riverhead, charged with second-degree murder. Prosecutors say he helped Newbeck, his childhood friend, kill Jenkins.
Cirenza said DeFelice went on to say that instead of being held outside, Newbeck called him back in after shooting Jenkins. DeFelice found Jenkins alive and spitting up blood, according to Cirenza.
"He said he grabbed on to her shoulders and apologized to her," Cirenza said during questioning by Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla. "Then he left and walked down the street."
DeFelice said Newbeck became enraged earlier that night when he saw Jenkins at the warehouse, Cirenza said. Jenkins had filed charges against Newbeck's girlfriend, Jennifer Russini, for identity theft.
After that initial encounter, DeFelice said he accompanied Newbeck to his home in Massapequa and watched him get a gun out of his dresser and a couple of tarps, Cirenza testified. On the way back to the warehouse, Cirenza said DeFelice told him Newbeck was still angry, "saying over and over he was going to kill Mandy."
At the warehouse, DeFelice said he took his Rottweiler dog outside, let Newbeck in and heard the shots, Cirenza said.
During cross-examination by defense attorney Richard Stafford of Bohemia, Cirenza said Newbeck didn't tell his client what he was doing when he packed the gun and the tarps.