Kendall Felix, a man convicted in the horrific kidnapping and murder of Menachem Stark, was sentenced Wednesday to a minimum of two years and four months to a maximum of seven years in prison — over prosecutors’ objections.
Family members of the 39-year-old Hasidic landlord from Brooklyn, whose body was found charred in a Long Island dumpster, railed against what they said was too lenient a sentence for the man who bought the gasoline and burned the body.
Stark, a father of 7, was killed as Felix’s cousins wrestled the landlord into a van outside his Williamsburg office on a snowy January night in 2014, as part of a failed kidnapping and extortion plot. When Stark struggled to break free, one of the men sat on his chest, which killed him.
Felix, now 30, admitted to bringing the gasoline and burning Stark’s dead body.
Felix pleaded guilty earlier this year to second-degree conspiracy and first-degree hindering prosecution, in exchange for the deal offered by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. The judge cited the defendant’s young age and college education, as well as no involvement with other crime. He faced up to 25 years in prison.
Prosecutor Howard Jackson on Wednesday blasted the deal in court, calling it “fortunate” given the brutality of the crime.
“This defendant went to help purchase the gasoline,” Jackson told Chun. “This defendant specifically poured the gasoline on the victim, lit a piece of paper towel on fire, and lit Menachem Stark’s body on fire. For his role in this crime, he’s extremely fortunate to have this offer.”
Chun said he felt the sentence was warranted, given that Felix wasn’t the mastermind.
Felix’s cousin, Kendel Felix, was convicted on murder charges in September 2016. Another cousin, Erskin Felix, is due back in court Friday. A fourth co-conspirator, Irvine Henry, is awaiting sentencing on pleas of hindering prosecution and attempted tampering with physical evidence
During Kendel’s trial, the jury was shown ghoulish images of Stark’s remains, which sent his widow fleeing from the courtroom.
“I will forever be haunted by the image of my husband’s end,” Bashie Stark said through tears as she confronted Kendall Felix in court, The NY Post reported. “Our lives will never be the same.”
Bashie’s sister, Yenti Herskovitz, also spoke in court Wednesday and decried the light sentence.
“Standing before you is a man with ice running through his veins,” she stated, according to the NY Post. “Kendall took this innocent man’s body and dumped it in a dumpster like trash.”
“Years of therapy cannot undo this trauma,” she sighed.
“Here you have a person who helped his brother and cousin – who had kidnapped Stark – murder, burn, and incinerate the body of a father who didn’t get to return home to his wife and seven children on that cold snowy night, and somehow this judge feels a sentence as potentially low as 2 years is warranted?” asked the former New York State Assemblyman, and chairman of the Coalition for a Positive America Dov Hikind.
“I can tell you that the entire community is livid over this grave miscarriage of justice. This is terribly misplaced judicial leniency that tells me Mr. Chun is probably better suited to serve as a kindergarten teacher than a judge in criminal court who has to preside over such gruesome cases. Usually, the only thing that can give the family of murder victims a measure of comfort is knowing that justice was pursued and served. Today, our local judiciary has failed miserably, and Menachem’s blood will remain a stain upon that judge and this city’s record.”
At YWN previously reported, cousins Erskin and Kendel Felix accosted Stark on the street as he left his office, located at 331 Rutledge Street in Williamsburg, on January 2, 2014, at approximately 11:30 p.m. After he fought unsuccessfully to escape, Stark was forced into a waiting vehicle and driven away from the location. Kendall and Henry allegedly joined their relatives. At some point, apparently while being restrained, Stark died of asphyxia.
According to the investigation, Erskin Felix, who was in the construction trade with Kendel Felix and Irvine Henry, had done work for Stark. Erskin Felix allegedly planned to extort money from Stark and enlisted Kendel Felix to help kidnap him, forming a conspiracy which also involved both Kendall Felix and Irvine Henry.
Upon discovering that Stark was dead, the four relatives allegedly returned to Rutledge Street, intending to retrieve physical evidence and dispose of Stark’s body. Upon arrival, Erskin and Irvine Henry got out of the vehicle, only to find the crime scene already flooded with police. As alleged, Erskin then directed Kendel and Kendall to go elsewhere to dispose of the body. They drove to Nassau County, threw the body in a dumpster and set it on fire.
Approximately 17 hours later, a Nassau County police officer found Stark’s partially burned body in a garbage dumpster behind a gas station in Great Neck, Long Island. The Nassau County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy on Stark and determined that the cause of death was asphyxia by compression of the neck and chest.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)