About six weeks after police learned a North Amityville woman had been shot to death, a Suffolk homicide detective got a call from a friend of the suspect saying they were about to move the body, the detective testified Monday in Suffolk County Court.
Ever since Aug. 23, 2010, detectives had been looking both for the body of Mandy Jo Jenkins, 30, and for the man they believed had shot her four times in the head, David Newbeck, 36, of Massapequa. On Oct. 3, Det. Thomas Walsh said, an informant, Brian Mulhauser, called and said he was with Newbeck "and they were going to be moving Mandy Jenkins' body."
Walsh testified at Newbeck's trial before Judge John Toomey Jr. Newbeck is charged with second-degree murder and faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors say he killed Jenkins because she refused to withdraw identity theft charges against his girlfriend, Jennifer Russini.
During questioning by Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla in Riverhead, Walsh said he alerted his supervisors, who organized surveillance in Lindenhurst. Newbeck realized he was being followed and fled, but not before Mulhauser let Walsh know where to look for the body, he said.
In a light drizzle, Walsh said, he walked into weeds at the end of Frank Street in Lindenhurst, between a "dead end" sign and a cemetery fence. "I observed a clump, like someone had dumped something," he said.
Under weeds and debris, he said he found a brown and green tarp closed with duct tape. Later at the medical examiner's office, it was opened to reveal Jenkins' remains. But by then, Newbeck was gone. Earlier in the trial, witnesses testified that Newbeck fled first to Birmingham, Ala., where he spent a week with his cousin, Jeremy Wood. Then, Wood testified, he rented a car for Newbeck and bought him a plane ticket from Houston to Quito, Ecuador.
Walsh said the Department of Homeland Security alerted him about the ticket. Newbeck was arrested as he boarded the plane.
Biancavilla played for jurors a profanity-laced recording of a collect phone call Newbeck placed to his mother from the Harris County, Texas, jail, in which he describes trying to avoid arrest. He told his mother he realized police were looking for him and tried to leave the airport, but he'd already gone through security, so he tried to get on the plane.
"The second I handed them my passport to get on the plane, the ------ behind the counter began screaming, 'It's him! It's him!' " Newbeck told his mother, Ivy Newbeck.
In another call recorded by the jail, Ivy Newbeck told her son she heard rumors police "have the gun with your fingerprints on it." Newbeck laughed and replied, "OK, well, that doesn't exist." Police never found a murder weapon.