Kendel Felix, 26, of Crown Heights, has been charged with the murder of Hassidic businessman Menachem Stark, after a four month search by police. Felix was employed by a contractor who did work for Stark. He is due in court Monday, where his indictment will be unveiled.
Two friends whom Felix identified as accomplices are also being questioned but so far have not been charged, police sources said.
Starks’ brother had tears in his eyes during Felix's arraignment Wednesday, reported the New York Post. “He was a great man,” Yitzy Stark, 30, said of his slain sibling. “We can’t bring him back and our family will always be broken.”
Police said Felix was the “main player” in the plot to rob Stark.
Felix “admits they wanted to rob him,” one source said. “They weren’t thinking about killing him.”
All three were linked to the crime by evidence found in a van that was used to abduct Stark on January 2 after he left his business in Williamsburg, sources said. Investigators believe Felix was the driver.
Two of the suspects were linked to a cellphone that was found attached to the undercarriage of Stark’s car in the days after the murder, a source said.
Felix told police he and his accomplices "accidentally" suffocated Stark as he fought to escape, a source said. They originally intended to dump the body on Long Island, but snow forced them to alter that plan.
They wound up leaving Stark’s body, which was partially burned, in a Great Neck, Long Island, trash bin.
“We are confident that all those people who were involved in this dastardly act will be arrested," said Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn).
"As we are now learning, Menachem's tragic murder seems to have resulted from a botched robbery," read the statement. "Some people knew that he was a man who carried significant amounts of cash."
“All the other stories caused so much pain,” he added. “His family, his community — they were dragged through the mud.”
Surveillance video showed Stark, 39, struggling with two suspects on in his Williamsburg neighborhood before being forced into a van. His partially burned body was found the next day in a dumpster outside a gas station on Long Island.