As Suffolk police closed in on a Massapequa man wanted in the killing a North Amityville woman, the man's cousin in Alabama was told to expect a visitor, he testified Wednesday in Suffolk County Court.
Jeremy Wood, 35, of Birmingham, told a jury how his cousin, David Newbeck, 36, stayed with him in October 2010 before leaving for Texas in the hope of getting on a plane to Ecuador.
At the time, Suffolk police were looking to arrest Newbeck for shooting Mandy Jo Jenkins, 30, four times in the head for refusing to withdraw an identity theft charge against his girlfriend. Police had just found Jenkins' body in Lindenhurst, but Newbeck had eluded capture, Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla has said.
"I was informed before time that he'd be on his way," Wood said during questioning by Biancavilla before Judge John Toomey Jr., explaining that his aunt -- Newbeck's mother -- had called him.
Newbeck glanced just briefly at Wood while he testified. In the audience, Newbeck's mother, Ivy Newbeck, stared intently at Wood, who testified under an immunity agreement with Suffolk prosecutors.
Newbeck spent a little more than a week with Wood, he said, helping him renovate a building he'd bought in downtown Birmingham.
"We discussed him driving to Houston, and from Houston possibly flying to Ecuador," Wood said. "I'd procure a rental car for him. He had no money." Wood also paid for the plane ticket to Ecuador, he said.
On Oct. 13, they put that plan into action after Newbeck's mother called to tell them there was a warrant out for her son's arrest. Wood said Newbeck called him from the airport in Houston.
"He was nervous of police at the airport," Wood said. Newbeck was arrested as he boarded the flight.
Earlier Wednesday, Anthony Cassino took time from serving 4 years for dealing drugs to testify about spending the weekend before Jenkins was killed with Newbeck and Jenkins' boyfriend, Joseph DeFelice, who was convicted of second-degree murder last year for his role in the crime.
Cassino said they went to Atlantic City with his girlfriend and Newbeck's girlfriend. When they returned, he said Jenkins came out to greet DeFelice when he dropped him off late on Aug. 22, 2010.
"She seemed happy-go-lucky," Cassino said. "She seemed fine."
Within hours, however, all that was left of her at the apartment she and DeFelice shared in a of North Amityville warehouse were bloodstains on a couch and on the floor. Cassino said DeFelice called him at about 5:30 a.m., asked him to come over and showed him the room. DeFelice's Rottweiler came in, too.
"The dog was licking something behind the couch," Cassino said. "I thought it was blood."
He said he told DeFelice to call the police.
During cross-examination, Newbeck's attorney, William Keahon, questioned Cassino about his extensive criminal record and the cooperation agreement with Nassau authorities that has him serving only a 4-year sentence.