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Joseph DeFelice gets 25-to-life in girlfriend's murder

Joseph DeFelice, inside Riverhead Criminal courtroom shortly before

Joseph DeFelice, inside Riverhead Criminal courtroom shortly before being sentenced to 25-years to life for taking part in the murder of his girlfriend Mary Jo Jenkins. (Nov. 14, 2013) Credit: James Carbone

A North Amityville man was sentenced Thursday to the maximum of 25 years to life in prison for arranging the murder of his girlfriend as a favor to one of his drug-dealing friends.

"You may not have pulled the trigger, but you made her death a certainty," Judge John Toomey Jr. said in Suffolk District Court in Riverhead before imposing the sentence on Joseph DeFelice, 34, who was convicted by a jury last month of second-degree murder, criminal facilitation and hindering prosecution.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla called the crime "probably the most despicable I've ever seen in my 30-year career as a prosecutor." He said DeFelice arranged for the murder of his girlfriend, Mandy Jo Jenkins, 30, at the urging of his longtime friend and then drug-dealing partner, David Newbeck, 36, of Massapequa. Newbeck is scheduled for trial early next year.

Newbeck wanted the woman dead because she had brought identity-theft charges against his girlfriend, Jennifer Russini, the prosecutor said. Russini also had scammed Newbeck, of $28,000, and he wanted her to remain free so that she could fleece other victims and pay him back, the prosecutor said.

In the early morning hours of Aug. 23, 2010, DeFelice took his Rottweiler out of the living quarters he shared with Jenkins at a Halloween merchandise warehouse on Seabro Avenue in North Amityville. He gave Newbeck the key and walked away with the dog, he later told police.

"He served her up to her executioner without a thought, without blinking an eye," Biancavilla told the judge.

DeFelice reported Jenkins missing later that morning, but police were immediately suspicious because there was evidence of a struggle in the living quarters. Her body, with four bullet wounds in the head and one in the chest, was found six weeks later near railroad tracks in North Lindenhurst.

DeFelice finally admitted his role to police after giving several different versions of what happened, and detectives were able to corroborate his story with surveillance videos from the warehouse.

He apologized in court to the Jenkins family, but insisted he was not guilty and hoped to have his conviction overturned on appeal.

He did admit to one failing: "I should have found other people to hang out with," he said.

A sister of Jenkins, Crystal Buturla, 46, of West Babylon, said outside the courtroom that the sentence "was what we expected. It is what it is: a senseless killing."

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