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Suffolk cop testifies about chasing murder suspect

Joseph DeFelice, 34, of North Amityville, was sentenced to the maxium 25 years to life in prison for arranging the murder of his girlfriend as a favor to one of his drug-dealing friends. Videojournalist: Jim Carbone and News 12 LI (Nov. 14, 2013)

An attempt to box in a murder suspect at a Massapequa shopping center parking lot led to a high-speed chase through the neighborhood before the suspect got away, a Suffolk police officer testified Tuesday at the man's trial.

Officer John Sheridan said he and other officers had been assigned to stake out the home of David Newbeck, 36, on North Suffolk Avenue hours after police had been told that Mandy Jo Jenkins, 30, had been shot in the head in the North Amityville warehouse where she lived.

Her live-in boyfriend, Joseph DeFelice, 34, who was convicted of second-degree murder in September for his role in the crime, told police Newbeck had done it and taken the body.

Now Newbeck is on trial for second-degree murder before Suffolk County Court Judge John Toomey Jr.

Sheridan said when he got to Newbeck's house on Aug. 23, 2010, Newbeck's dark gray 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer was in the driveway with a piece of cardboard taped over the license plate.

After more than three hours, Sheridan said, Newbeck came out and drove the Trailblazer a short distance to a parking lot on Hicksville Road. He said he and other officers pulled in front of and behind Newbeck.

"I was about to get out, when David Newbeck looked at us, gunned the engine and took off," Sheridan said during questioning by Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla. "He crossed over a hedge, a sidewalk and a curb and drove south on Hicksville Road."

Sheridan said Newbeck blew through stop signs and hit speeds of as much as 60 mph.

Jurors listened to a frantic, expletive-filled recording of a 911 call Sheridan made during the chase, as he tried to get Nassau police to help. After Nassau 911 put him on hold, there was some confusion who Sheridan was and what he wanted.

"You're the Suffolk County police, or you're asking for the Suffolk police?" the dispatcher asked.

"We are the Suffolk County police!" Sheridan replied, saying they were chasing a homicide suspect.

"What's the guy look like?" the dispatcher asked. "Hispanic?"

"No, he's a white male," Sheridan said, shortly before they lost sight of Newbeck.

During cross-examination, Sheridan told defense attorney William Keahon the chase added up to about 1.7 miles and took 5 minutes. Keahon said if his math was correct, the chase took place at an average speed of 20.4 mph.

In his opening statement last week, Biancavilla told jurors that Newbeck and his girlfriend left town so fast they left her 8-year-old son behind.

After police found Jenkins' body in October 2010 wrapped in a tarp on a dead-end street in Lindenhurst, Newbeck was arrested in Texas as he was about to board a plane to Ecuador.

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