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Long IslandSuffolk

LI man who received texts on night of slaying testifies at murder trial

David Newbeck, 36, of Massapequa, was charged with

David Newbeck, 36, of Massapequa, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the Aug. 23, 2010 death of Mandy Jo Jenkins. Photo Credit: SCPD

An acquaintance of the man whose girlfriend was shot to death next door in the same North Amityville building acknowledged Wednesday that he got a flurry of phone calls and texts from the man at about the time of the slaying.

But Anthony Pilo, 37, of West Babylon, testifying in Suffolk County Court, said he couldn't recall the subject of any of the messages more than three years later.

Pilo had a recording studio next door in the same building where Joseph DeFelice lived with his girlfriend, Mandy Jo Jenkins, 30. Jenkins was killed there in the early hours of Aug. 23, 2010.

DeFelice has been convicted for his role in the slaying -- setting Jenkins up to be killed -- and now David Newbeck, 36, of Massapequa is on trial, charged with second-degree murder. Newbeck is a friend of DeFelice and an acquaintance of Pilo.

Prosecutors say Newbeck wanted Jenkins dead because she had refused to withdraw identity theft charges against his girlfriend, but this week Newbeck's attorney has seized on DeFelice's phone calls and texts to suggest that DeFelice committed the crime with Pilo's help instead. Pilo has not been charged in the case.

During Pilo's testimony before Judge John Toomey Jr., neither Assistant District Attorney Robert Biancavilla nor defense attorney William Keahon asked him if he had anything to do with the crime. Instead, they limited themselves to why DeFelice called and texted so often in the hours before and after Jenkins was shot.

Pilo said he was too preoccupied moving equipment from one studio in the building to another to pay much attention to DeFelice.

"I don't recall speaking with him," he testified. "I didn't discuss anything with him on the phone."

Pilo said the only thing he heard during the night was a drummer practicing in another studio, which he said was not unusual before dawn.

The last of the prosecution's 50 witnesses was an expert in the tracking of cellphones, Det. John Primiano of the Suffolk district attorney's office.

He used phone records and location data to track where Newbeck's and DeFelice's phones were located the day of the shooting and where Newbeck's phone was on Oct. 3, 2010, when Jenkins' body was discovered at the end of a dead-end street in Lindenhurst. Police say Newbeck was preparing to move the body then.

Primiano said both men's phones were near the warehouse before 3 a.m., and then both near Newbeck's home in Massapequa. Both phones returned to the warehouse about 5:30 a.m., when police believe Jenkins was killed, and then Primiano said by 6:14 a.m. Newbeck's phone is near the spot in Lindenhurst where Jenkins' body was recovered weeks later.

Closing arguments will be Friday.

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