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More Details in Menachem Stark Murder Case

Suspected construction worker says botched kidnapping was business-related

Stephanie Butnick
July 14, 2014
Menachem Stark. (ELI WOHL/VIN NEWS)
Menachem Stark. (ELI WOHL/VIN NEWS)

The suspect indicted in the murder of Hasidic landlord Menachem Stark, who was killed in a botched kidnapping in January, revealed details of the abduction gone wrong to investigators after pleading not guilty to murder and kidnapping. The New York Post reports that 26-year-old Kendal Felix, a construction worked employed by a man Stark reportedly owed money to, told the full story after “cops asked him whether his preacher father taught him to tell the truth.”

Kendal Felix, 26, told detectives that his boss, identified only as “Erskine” approached him in December and said “Max” [Stark] owed him money and that if Felix helped him force Stark to pay up that he would give him a cut, said the documents, which were released after the suspect’s arraignment in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

Felix proceeded to detail the abduction (he drove the van) and his boss’ realization soon afterward that Stark was dead, presumably killed during the immediate struggle or when he was bound inside the van. The group, which, according to Felix, by then included Erskine’s brother and another individual, drove to Long Island and disposed of Stark’s body in a dumpster, which they lit on fire.

The incident sounds gruesome and disturbing, but more troubling is the fact that none of the three other men involved have been charged–”prosecutors said they don’t have enough evidence,” the Post reports. While Felix admitted to being part of the murder, he pretty clearly isn’t the person who had the idea for the kidnapping, or who organized the abduction. It’s unclear if he had ever met Stark before being brought into a vaguely explained plan to ‘make him pay up.’ He was brought in to do the dirty work, and now he’s taking the fall while the real bad guys behind the murder are seemingly in the clear.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

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