Prosecutor: Joseph DeFelice changed story in murder case four times

Mandy Jo Jenkins is seen in a handout Mandy Jo Jenkins is seen in a handout photo. Her boyfriend, Joseph DeFelice, is charged with murder. Photo Credit: Handout

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Before Joseph DeFelice reported his girlfriend's killing to police in the summer of 2010, he phoned an acquaintance and said a friend, David Newbeck, had shot her, the acquaintance testified Monday at DeFelice's murder trial in Riverhead.

"Dave killed his girlfriend," said Anthony Cassino, 39, recalling what DeFelice told him on the morning of Aug. 23, 2010.

However, DeFelice told police later that day that a masked man had held him at gunpoint as Newbeck shot his girlfriend, Mandy Jo Jenkins, 30, and took her body. In all, DeFelice changed his story four times, prosecutor Robert Biancavilla said.

DeFelice, 34, of North Amityville, is on trial for second-degree murder. He is accused of giving Newbeck a warehouse key and taking his Rottweiler outside while Newbeck shot Jenkins with a .45-caliber handgun.

DeFelice's attorney, Richard Stafford of Bohemia, has said Newbeck acted alone. Newbeck, 36, of Massapequa, is to be tried separately later.

According to Cassino, who is serving time for selling prescription drugs, DeFelice told him Newbeck came by the Halloween Scene warehouse in North Amityville, where DeFelice lived and worked with Jenkins.

Newbeck went inside and argued with Jenkins, who hid behind a television set because she was afraid of him, Cassino told a jury before Suffolk County Court Judge John Toomey Jr.

DeFelice and Newbeck drove to Newbeck's Massapequa house to retrieve a gun and returned, Cassino testified. DeFelice told Cassino said he heard three shots. Cassino didn't believe DeFelice's story until he went inside and saw blood under a couch cushion, where police said Jenkins was sleeping when she was shot. "He said he helped wrap her up and put her into the truck," Cassino said.

Police found Jenkins' body, wrapped in tarp, on a dead end street in Lindenhurst after seeing Newbeck there in October 2010 with gloves and a shovel.

On cross-examination, Cassino acknowledged that when he was questioned by police in August 2010, he did not say DeFelice helped Newbeck.

Two other prosecution witnesses, Robert Joyce of Levittown and Eric Embro, testified. Joyce said he heard Newbeck, his childhood friend, and DeFelice talk about killing Jenkins twice because she refused to withdraw identity theft charges against Newbeck's girlfriend. Embro, who sold DeFelice coffee from a truck, said he saw DeFelice and a second man with a tarp the morning Jenkins was killed.

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