Erskin Felix Sentenced in Murder of Stark, Maintains His Innocence

OPINION – LM

Erskin Felix Claims he is Innocent and We Think He May Very Have Been Wrongly Convicted

Erskin Felix has maintained his innocence since day one. He said he did not kill Stark. He had the opportunity to plea a deal which he did not take, knowing that were he to be convicted, he would not get off lightly. He has continuously stated that he would not have killed Stark.

We have believed, all along. There were more than a fair share of people who had to gain by Stark’s tragic death.  Menachem Stark was involved with business and real estate partners for whom his death was a payday with a windfall outcome. Many of Stark’s properties have wound up in the hands of those very partners who have since sold them onward and made substantially lucrative deals.

There are things about the case that never made sense. The Van did not initially show signs of Stark or DNA. It was not captured on all of the videos that should have captured it had events been as depicted. A second pass over the van lead to finding DNA; and while the inconsistencies with the evidence have resulted in a partial conviction on evidence tampering, we don’t believe any of it. If the evidence was tampered with, it was not by Felix.

It took hours before the police were called in. Instead, the Shomrim were initially called and they reviewed everything first. The lack of transparency within Shomrim as a general matter leads one to question the actions they took after the initial determination that Stark was missing.

We received information that shortly after his death there were changes to LLC boxes at 199 Lee Avenue, where many of Stark’s properties were registered and where many of his property managers had “suites” (more accurately PO Boxes) including new addresses for some of these managers and companies.

We received information from Stark’s tenants who claimed that there were some very shady dealings; many included coercing them to  to sign documents that they later realized dismantled their rights to their homes, just days after the disappearance but before it was widely known the circumstances of Stark’s death or even that Stark was indeed dead. 

Moreover, while there was supposedly a kidnapping for ransom behind the Stark murder, no official information has ever been disseminated regarding the nature of the ransom except an alleged $20,000 payment. However, Felix had always claimed that this was not true. Why would three men from St. Lucia be involved in anything like this for $20,000? It just makes no sense.

We speculate that the other two “conspirators” were paid handsomely to accept a deal, spend time in prison and come out to find some form of compensation for their troubles waiting. It gives us a few years to figure it all out.

In the meantime, we wish our condolences to the Stark family. The death was tragic and unnecessary and right or wrong in our theories, he should not have died for money or for any other reason. 

We sincerely hope there are others out there who see this as we do. Erskin Felix is, in our opinion, innocent. We hope someone, if not us, manages to figure it all out.

Erskin Felix Sentenced to 24 Years to Life for Murder and Kidnapping of Menachem Stark

BROOKLYN

Erskin Felix, convicted of the murder and kidnapping of Menachem Stark, was sentenced Thursday to 24 years to life in prison. Five years and five months after Stark’s death, all four men accused of involvement in the crime have now been convicted or pleaded guilty, and sentenced.

In a victim impact statement prior to the sentencing, Mrs. Bashie Stark described the pain her family has experienced since her husband’s death.

“It was Erskin Felix who planned and executed this cruel attack, and it is he who’s responsible for the trauma that my family is suffering to this day and will suffer for the rest of our lives,” said Mrs. Stark, who remained composed throughout the statement. “With the murder of this sweet and gentle man, my loss is huge and my children too are going through life missing that love and security that their devoted father had always provided.”

“Menachem and I always imagined growing old together and watching our children reach adulthood. But in the years that have passed, two of my children got married and Menachem wasn’t there with us. Two grandchildren were born, and Menachem never got to meet them. To hold them. To bounce them on his knee. They will never know his love. My little ones barely remember their father, the man that loved them more than life itself.”

Stark was kidnapped by two men on the night of January 2, 2014, outside his Williamsburg office, and forced into the men’s minivan, in a scene captured on surveillance footage. His body was found in Long Island the next day.

A jury deliberated for less than five hours before convicting Felix, 40, in April, of second-degree murder, first degree kidnapping and tampering with physical evidence. He was acquitted of another first-degree kidnapping charge and a conspiracy charge.

Felix is believed to have masterminded a plan to kidnap Stark and hold him for ransom, claiming Stark owed him money. Felix managed construction sites on properties owned by Stark, a real-estate developer. Stark was friendly with Felix, according to testimony by Mrs. Stark, and had also hired Felix to do contracting work on his home some years earlier.

According to testimony by Erskin’s cousin Kendel Felix, Erskin and Kendel carried out the kidnapping, then drove to the home of Erskin’s brother Kendall Felix and picked him up, and then picked up another cousin, Irvine Henry. The plan went awry when the group suddenly realized that Menachem was no longer breathing; Erskin had unintentionally suffocated Menachem, who was already bound and gagged, when he had kneeled on Menachem’s chest.

Erskin and Irvine left the vehicle and returned to the area of Menachem’s office – likely to retrieve a tracking device Erskin had placed under Menachem’s vehicle weeks earlier – but, fearing being seen, went home. Meanwhile, Kendall and Kendel drove the minivan with Menachem’s body to Long Island, where they put him in a dumpster and burned him.

Kendel was convicted in September 2016 of felony murder and kidnapping. The other three were arrested shortly thereafter, and Kendel then reached a deal to cooperate with against Erskin for a reduced sentence.

Kendel was sentenced in May to the minimum of 15 years to life.

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ADDITIONAL READING:

Man convicted in kidnapping, murder of Menachem Stark gets 15 years

‘Mastermind’ of 2014 kidnapping and murder sentenced to 24 years to life in prison

 

 

The Menachem Stark Murder, Kendall Felix, A Railroaded Employee Righted by Sentence

The Menachem Stark Murder and Our Take on Events… a Business Transaction that Did not Involve Kendall Felix

March 27, 2019, Edited 3.28.19 (We have updated the story. The writing was unclear insofar as Kendall Felix was only convicted of burning the body and not he murder itself).

Dear Readers:

To Menachem Stark’s (z”l) family, we offer our sincerest condolences. The death of your family member was tragic, gruesome and quite disturbing. It cannot have been easy. There is little that can be said to offer much more than wishes for peace.

We do not feel the right man has been convicted.

We have long believed that Kendall Felix could not have dumped and burned Menachem Stark in 2014 and we do not believe the Kendel Felix murdered him. Kendall Felix and the members of his family involved most certainly could not have been masterminded the plan. The person, business or family that was involved was far more sinister, far more clever and had something to gain by the death of Stark.

We believe and have always contended that the Stark murder was a simple business endeavor. It left former partners with significant high value property and financial benefit. Those are the people to whom law enforcement should have looked and who should have been held to account for his death, not a St. Lucian employee and his family members. This was not a death over $20,000.00. It was a murder over millions. 

We contend that there was a massive cover-up. Even the reactions to events are inconsistent.

We maintain that the wrong man admitted to or is being tried for the murder and his family members were innocently charged with the larger conspiracy, either coerced or bribed into a false admission; and is or are now going to serve a sentence for the death of a man they did not kill. We have always maintained that there is far more to this story.  We are relieved, however, that Judge Danny Chun got it very right. We hope that Judge Chun’s decision is not just another piece; but rather that he knows Kendall Felix was a victim.  

Kendel Felix worked for Stark and in several interviews stated that Stark treated him well, was kind and was generous to him. While Stark had many enemies, it is rumored that he held loyal employees in high regard. His tenants had both good and bad to say about him; but Felix did not waiver in his expression of respect for his former employer. Kendel Felix did not kill him and we do not believe that Kendall Felix does what he has been charged with either. And, most certainly the Felix family, we do not believe, had anything to do with masterminding whatever plot there was that went drastically wrong.

Sources have told us over the years that there was some time before the civil police department was called in after Stark went missing. The Shomrim were called in first and hours went by. We have been advised that the whereabouts of the white van and CCTV cameras along the route allegedly taken during the alleged kidnapping do not correspond to the story as enacted. We have further been advised that the DNA evidence is also questionable because the first pass of the van revealed nothing and it was not until months later that DNA was found, indicating that it may have been planted to create a chain of events that might make sense. We have accounts of a very different story.

But, there is no denying that at least some of Stark’s former partners profited from his death, the result of business agreements whereby they took ownership of the properties still owned by Stark’s companies.  There is no brokering that there is property in Monsey, New York that has changed ownership in some questionable ways since Stark’s death, again the result of business relationships Stark had. There may have been answers at 199 Lee Avenue.

While we hope one day to put the pieces together in their inglorious detail, it is something of a relief to know that Kendall Felix, who we do not believe had anything to do with the death of Menachem Stark, will not spent the rest of his life behind bars. We hope perhaps one day Stark’s family will want to know what really happened as much as we do.

LM

 

Kendall Felix, who pleaded guilty to second degree conspiracy and first degree hindering prosecution, was sentenced to a minimum of two years and four months to a maximum of seven years Wednesday. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese

Menachem Stark was kidnapped, murdered and burned. The man who set the fire could serve less than three years.

 

“Cruel beyond words:” Victim’s family outraged at lenient sentencing

Family members of a kidnapped and killed Brooklyn landlord 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.

Kendall Felix, who pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy and first-degree hindering prosecution, was sentenced to a minimum of two years and four months to a maximum of seven years on Wednesday.

“I feel that it’s way too little. The man ruined a living family’s life. No one asked him to burn the body. Cruel beyond words. I believe he deserves a lot more,” said Yenti Hershkovitz, the sister-in-law of Menachem Stark, whose murder rocked the Williamsburg Hasidic community in 2014.

Judge Danny Chun cited the defendant’s age and college degree at the time of the killing for the lenient sentence.

“I was also convinced that this defendant was not the mastermind for many, many reasons. This defendant is not the mastermind behind the planning to kidnap Mr. Stark in this case,” Chun said.

Stark was 39 and had seven children at the time of his death. The New York Postnotoriously ran a outrage-sparking cover just after his death that read, “Who Didn’t Want Him Dead?”, chronicling the victim’s debts and enemies.

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