48 HOURS: CRAZY LOVE to Investigate Miami Murders, 1/26
Think it would be easy to have loads of money, luxury toys and women? Think again. Miami hotel heir Benji Novack had all that and more, and he ended up dead.
Novack was born into Miami hotel royalty. In the 1960s, his parents Bernice and Benjamin, Sr. owned Miami's famed hotspot, the Fontainebleau Hotel, once the stomping grounds of folks like Frank Sinatra and John F. Kennedy. But when the family lost their fortune and the hotel, friends say Benji was inspired to start his own business planning conferences for corporate clients, which earned him millions. Outside of work, Novack had a yacht, a massive Batman memorabilia collection - including a replica of the Batmobile from the hit TV show - as well as a wife and a mistress.
Friends say Novack was also known as a brat who ruled his empire by fear, so he had a lot of enemies police could turn to when on July 12, 2009, he was found bound and bludgeoned to death in a Rye Brook, N.Y. hotel room. Could it be his wife, or any number of business contacts he upset along the way?
"We found hitmen, we found girlfriends, we found money trails," Westchester County, N.Y. Detective Allison Carpentier tells 48 HOURS. She also says it was the worst crime scene she'd ever experienced. "It was a brutal scene," she explains. "His eyes had both been cut out."
TRoy Roberts and the 48 Hours team report on the murder of Novack in "Crazy Love," to be broadcast Saturday, Jan. 26 (10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. The broadcast includes the first interview with Rebecca Bliss, who carried on an 18-month affair with Novack while he was married to Narcy Novack.
"He cared about me a lot, he would tell me he loved me every day," Bliss tells 48 HOURS. Bliss also said Narcy once called her screaming. "She said, 'If I couldn't have him, no one will,'" Bliss recalls.
The crime scene led police to believe there was more than one killer, and given his fascinating background in Miami, they had a hotel full of possible suspects. Says Carpentier, "is this a robbery... is it a domestic gone wrong.... is it isolated... is he a target?"
The investigation would lead to Miami where a reporter began to question the death of Benji Novack's mother, Bernice, which had initially been ruled an accident. Or was it?
48 HOURS: "Crazy Love" is produced by Chuck Stevenson and Dena Goldstein. Anthony Batson is the senior broadcast producer. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.
"Crazy Love" is the second part of a 48 Hours double feature to be broadcast on Jan. 26. Up first is an updated edition 48 HOURS: "Live to Tell - An Officer and a Hero," (9:00 PM, ET/PT) which revolves around the harrowing robbery-turned-home invasion story that left off-duty St. Louis police officer Isabella Lovadina grievously wounded, her boyfriend with a bullet in his throat, and one woman dead.