Prosecutor: Slay victim betrayed by boyfriend
A North Amityville woman made two logical decisions that led to her getting fatally shot four times in the head and once in the chest while she slept, a Suffolk prosecutor told a jury Tuesday.
The first decision by Mandy Jo Jenkins, 30, was to file identity theft charges against a woman who used her name to defraud a bank, Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla said. The second was to trust her live-in boyfriend, Joseph DeFelice, 34, he said.
DeFelice and his onetime friend, David Newbeck, 36, of Massapequa, are charged with second-degree murder. Biancavilla said Newbeck killed Jenkins when she refused to withdraw identity theft charges against his girlfriend, Jennifer Russini, 30. DeFelice helped Newbeck do it, Biancavilla said.
"She relied on Mr. DeFelice to protect her," Biancavilla said during his opening statement at DeFelice's trial before Suffolk County Court Judge John Toomey Jr. "She trusted him to protect her. But he and Mr. Newbeck executed her while she slept on the couch in his apartment. Mr. DeFelice set up Mandy Jo to be executed."
Newbeck will be tried later.
DeFelice's attorney, Richard Stafford of Bohemia, said Newbeck killed Jenkins on his own.
"Joe's actions are that of a witness," Stafford said. "Joe didn't want Mandy Jo to die."
Biancavilla said the evidence will show otherwise.
He said that at 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 23, 2010, when Newbeck showed up at the Halloween products warehouse where DeFelice and Jenkins lived and worked, DeFelice gave Newbeck a key and took his Rottweiler outside. While DeFelice waited, Biancavilla said Newbeck shot her with a .45-caliber handgun, wrapped her body in a tarp and left.
"But for his assistance of Mr. Newbeck, Mandy Jo Jenkins would be here today," Biancavilla said. "Mr. DeFelice is as guilty of the murder of Miss Jenkins as the person who pulled the trigger."
At 7:07 a.m., DeFelice called 911 and told the first of four versions of what had happened, Biancavilla said.
Jurors in Riverhead listened to a recording of the lengthy call, in which the operator asked incredulously why he took so long to call.
"I heard three gunshots," DeFelice said later on the call. "I started crying and lost my mind."
Shortly after that call, Biancavilla said DeFelice told officers an unknown masked man held him at gunpoint while Newbeck shot Jenkins. Then Biancavilla said DeFelice told detectives a version similar to his 911 call and finally described helping Newbeck get the gun and leading him to Jenkins.
Police found Jenkins' body on a dead end street in Lindenhurst after seeing Newbeck go there in October 2010 with work gloves and a shovel.
Newbeck fled and was arrested weeks later in Texas about to board a flight to Ecuador.