Proceedings in the trial of Kendel Felix continued Friday, with jurors hearing testimony related to the vehicle used in the abduction of Menachem Stark, Hy”d.
Felix is the only man who has thus far been charged in the January 2014 kidnapping and killing of Menachem Stark. Felix previously confessed to the crime, and also implicated several family members, but he later pleaded not guilty. His lawyer is expected to argue that the confession was coerced; that a motorcycle accident six years ago left Felix with a brain injury that made him susceptible to aggressive police questioning. The defense plans to introduce testimony to this effect from mental-health professionals.
On Friday, the third day of the trial, jurors heard testimony from a forensic officer who recovered the cellphone tracking device perpetrators had stuck onto Menachem’s car in order to track his whereabouts before the abduction. Forensic officers were able to recover contact information for some members of the Felix family on that device.
The prosecution also presented testimony detailing how police officers were able to recover the car that was used in the crime. Based on security-camera footage from the crime scene, police determined that the vehicle was a silver Dodge Grand Caravan. Further investigation of security camera footage of all bridges and tunnels in the area, as well as parking-ticket records in New York, led to the recovery of the vehicle two weeks after the murder.
Once detectives located the vehicle, they kept it under surveillance to see who would get into and drive it, and were thus able to connect it with the Felix family: One of the elder Felixes got into the car to drive it; police stopped him, and discovered that he had no license on him. He later came down to the police station to show his license accompanied by two younger members of his family.
Police officers and detectives who were called as witnesses detailed some of the items found in the car, including duct tape used to bind Menachem and an envelope of rent money he had collected from a tenant shortly before his abduction. They also identified his blood inside the car.
There will be no proceedings in this trial on Monday, Sept. 12, due to a Muslim holiday; proceedings are to resume on Tuesday, Sept. 13. The prosecution’s case is expected to continue throughout the week, with defense testimony expected to begin around Monday, Sept. 19.