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Defense: Client a coward, not a murderer

Joseph DeFelice, 31, of North Amityville, pictured here,

Joseph DeFelice, 31, of North Amityville, pictured here, and David Newbeck, 33, of Massapequa, have been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the Aug. 23, 2010, death of Mandy Jo Jenkins, who had been DeFelice's girlfriend. Credit: SCPD

An attorney for a North Amityville man said Tuesday his client's failure to immediately notify police of his girlfriend's August 2010 killing makes him a coward, not a murderer.

Defense attorney Richard Stafford, of Bohemia, told jurors that Joseph DeFelice, 34, should not have waited more than two hours to call 911 to notify authorities that Mandy Jo Jenkins, 30, had been fatally shot.

"Being a coward is not a crime," Stafford said in his closing argument before Suffolk County Court Judge John Toomey Jr. in Riverhead.

DeFelice is charged with second-degree murder, second-degree criminal facilitation and hindering prosecution. If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison.

Prosecutors say DeFelice helped a friend and business associate, David Newbeck, 36, of Massapequa, kill Jenkins because she had refused to withdraw an identity theft complaint against Newbeck's girlfriend. Jenkins was killed on Aug. 23, 2010 -- shot four times in the head and once in the chest.

Assistant District Attorney Bob Biancavilla told the jury that DeFelice knew Newbeck was planning to kill Jenkins in the warehouse where she and De- Felice lived and worked -- and DeFelice helped Newbeck do it.

Biancavilla said DeFelice accompanied Newbeck when Newbeck drove to his house to fetch a .45-caliber pistol.

On their drive back to the warehouse, DeFelice saw Newbeck load bullets into the weapon, Biancavilla said. The prosecutor said DeFelice also left the key to the warehouse in the console of Newbeck's car, which Newbeck used to enter the building.

And DeFelice took his Rottweiler out of the warehouse so the dog would not attack Newbeck when he went inside and "executed" Jenkins, Biancavilla said.

"They did this crime together," he said. "They share the blame and the consequences for her murder."

Stafford argued that DeFelice left the key in Newbeck's car by accident. Newbeck has also been charged in the murder, and faces a separate trial.

The jury of six men and six women in the DeFelice case is to begin deliberating Wednesday.

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