Relatives of a Chasidic man who was brutally kidnapped and murdered are outraged by the lenient sentence handed down today to one of four conspirators charged in his death.
Kendall Felix was sentenced to two and a third to seven years in the 2014 killing of Menachem Stark. According to the Brooklyn Eagle, Judge Danny Chun said that he awarded the relatively light sentence to Felix because of his age at the time of the crime, his college degree and the fact that he was not the mastermind of the plot to kidnap the 39 year old father of seven.
As previously reported on VIN News, Felix had been facing a maximum sentence of 25 years. Also charged in Stark’s killing were Kendel Felix, Erskin Felix and Irvine Henry, all Brooklyn residents.
Stark’s murder was a kidnapping gone wrong, with conspirators depositing his lifeless body in Great Neck dumpster on a snowy Friday night. Stark’s sister in law Leah Weiss said that Kendall Felix admitted that he set the body on fire in an attempt to dispose of the remains and that the family was very disturbed by court’s determination that burning Stark’s body was considered to be tampering with evidence.
“This is desecration of a body; this is not evidence,” Weiss told VIN News. “Where is the husband, the father, the son, where is he? This is not evidence of a crime, he was a person.”
Weiss said that Stark was an integral part of the family, whose presence is still sorely missed.
“Most people don’t understand that we aren’t the kind of family who only gets together when someone gets married or makes a bar mitzvah,” said Weiss. “We were together all the time and he was always at the center of everything.”
Judge Chun’s sentence opens up a world of hurt for the Stark family all over again, noted Weiss.
“He was the one who came up with the idea to burn the body and the not knowing where he was an extremely painful part of the process and that was his doing,” said Weiss.
Tziri Hershkowitz, another of Stark’s sisters in law, was in the courtroom nearly every day of Felix’s trial. She too felt that Chun’s sentence missed the mark.
“This is unfairly short for such a horrendous and cold blooded crime,” observed Hershkowitz. “He admitted to being solely responsible for burning a man’s body and the family deserved better than this. A human being is not the same as a bag of evidence.”
Stark’s son will be getting married next week and Hershkowitz said that the family has been doing its best to juggle the joy of the upcoming wedding with the emotional difficulties of the trial.
“Sitting there in court every day is traumatic and we have heard a lot more detail about the tragedy than we necessarily needed to hear,” said Hershkowitz. “The images and video are heartbreaking and horrifying but we need to them to know that we are there and that we are a loving family that has been forever changed.”
Felix’s lawyer, Kenneth Montgomery, was not immediately available to comment on the matter.