DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — A construction worker charged with murdering a Williamsburg businessman whose body was found burned in a Long Island dumpster admitted to police that he was part of a team that kidnapped the victim — but insisted they didn't mean to kill him, sources said.
Kendel Felix, 26, told detectives that he and a couple of his relatives wanted to kidnap and rob Menachem Stark, 39, because he knew the father of seven carried around large amounts of cash, sources said.
Felix, who worked for a building contractor that Stark did business with, said his crew grabbed the Williamsburg developer on Jan. 2, 2104 as the businessman left work at 331 Rutledge Street just before midnight, according to sources.
But when Stark fought back, Felix's relative sat on Stark's chest and accidentally suffocated him in an ensuing struggle, sources said.
Prosecutors have not yet charged anyone else in connection to the crime, but at least two other men were in custody Thursday, sources said. Detectives are still looking to question others in connection to the murder, sources said.
Felix's relatives names were not included in the criminal complaint, nor was the name of the construction company for which he worked.
Stark's devastated family and friends whispered to each other as Felix was led into the courtroom.
After the hearing, they spoke about the deep impact the crime had on their family.
"We can't bring him back," his brother Yitzy Stark said. "Our family will never be the same."
Felix stood silent at the arraignment, wearing jeans and a black coat and clasping his hands behind his back. second degree murder and kidnapping charges Thursday afternoon. The judge ordered him held without bail.
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind said that he expected more arrests in the case.
He added he was glad that the arrests could start to bring closure — and restore Stark's reputation.
Police dismissed an earlier theory that Stark may have been killed over a debt he owed.
Stark's name "was dragged through the mud," Hikind said. "This had nothing to do with any of those things."