A construction worker who wanted to rob Reb Menachem Stark, Hy”d, was indicted Thursday morning for killing him in the course of the kidnapping, in a horrific saga that shocked the city four months ago.
Kendel Felix, 26, of Crown Heights, did not enter a plea or request bail during the minute-long proceeding in Brooklyn Criminal Court. He was remanded into custody until his next court appearance, scheduled for Monday, when his indictment will be unveiled. He is expected to be arraigned for second degree murder and second-degree kidnapping, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Two other associates are still being held for questioning. They were implicated by Felix, as well as by evidence found on the vehicle used to kidnap Mr. Stark.
The 39-year-old beloved father of seven young children was abducted late on a snowy night of Jan. 2 as he was leaving his office. The abduction, caught on a surveillance camera, showed Mr. Stark fighting back with at least two attackers for about four minutes before he was subdued and put into an SUV. His body was found the next day in Great Neck, Long Island.
Mr. Stark’s levayah was attended by thousands of grieving Jews, who mourned the generous philanthropist who anonymously helped pay grocery, chasunah and tuition bills for hundreds of beneficiaries.
Investigators believe that Felix, described as the “main player,” drove the getaway van. He had done some construction work in the past for a contractor who was hired by Mr. Stark, and he came to believe that the real estate developer carried a lot of cash on himself. He hatched the plan to rob him, tracking his car and scoping his home. According to police, Felix and his accomplices put a cellphone tracking device on the bottom of Mr. Stark’s car days before. It was that action that allowed police to pick up their trail. The phone was quickly discovered by detectives and linked to the three men.
According to a police source cited in media reports, the phone belonged to one of the suspects, who used it to make multiple calls to the two others.
After Felix’s court appearance Thursday, Yitzy Stark, the victim’s brother, said tearfully that the family was relieved that there had finally been an arrest.
“We can’t bring him back, but there is good closure and everybody knows the truth,” he said. “But our family will never be the same.”