A Brooklyn Supreme Court judge on Thursday sentenced a Caribbean American former nurse and a hitman she hired to kill her Jamaican-born husband to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Justice Neil Firetog imposed the stiff sentence on Alisha Noel-Murray and Kirk Portious, both 29, of Brownsville, Brooklyn, following their convictions earlier this month to first-degree murder after a jury trial.
Prosecutors said that Noel-Murray, the daughter of Guyanese-born Registered Nurse Pauline Noel and Grenadian-born construction worker Andrew Noel, hired Portious to kill her husband, Omar Murray, 37, after two previous failed assassination attempts on his life. Noel-Murray’s estranged parents reside in Brooklyn.
Noel-Murray, who was fired as a registered nurse by the Visiting Nurse Services of New York (VNS), tried to cash out life insurance policies under her husband’s name days after he was killed, prosecutors said.
“With their premeditated and callous actions, these two defendants forfeited their right to remain part of our society,” said Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Puerto Rican-born Eric Gonzalez immediately after Justice Firetog imposed the sentence. “They planned and carried out the heinous and cruel execution of an innocent man for nothing more than pure greed.”
According to trial testimony, on Feb. 24, 2013, at about 12:58 p.m., Omar Murray was shot three times and died inside his home, at 204 Lott Ave. in Brownsville.
Gonzalez said the investigation led police to Damien Lovell, 33, Noel-Murray’s boyfriend, who told investigators that his girlfriend had asked him to find someone to kill her husband after her attempt to poison him had failed.
The first person shot at Omar Murray on Feb. 6, 2013, but missed, according to trial testimony.
Lovell then hired Portious and provided him with a US$500 down payment and the gun, which he received from Noel-Murray, court evidence showed.
Gonzalez said the gunman was promised a total of US$3,500. He said Noel-Murray had taken out nearly US$900,000 in life insurance on her husband before the murder and attempted to cash out the policies within days of his death.
Lovell had previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for a promised sentence of 15 years to life in prison, Gonzalez said.
“I thought she loved my brother,” said Andrew Knight, the brother of Omar Murray, about Noel-Murray at Thursday’s pre-sentencing hearing.
Noel-Murray had made her own attempt to kill her husband in October 2012 by poisoning his dinner after she found out he cheated on her with a prostitute, according to the New York Daily News.
When that plan failed, she engaged in an affair with Lovell and confided in him to solicit someone to kill Omar Murray, the paper said.
Lovell testified in Brooklyn Supreme Court against Noel-Murray and Kirk Portious in exchange for 15 years to life in prison.
A jury had taken only three hours to convict Noel-Murray of first-degree murder.
Portious was found guilty by a separate jury for pumping three bullets into Murray’s body at 204 Lott Ave., “as Noel-Murray coldly hid in an upstairs bedroom with her 10-month-old baby,” the Daily News said.
“The man who murdered your husband is sitting right there and, this whole trial, she acted like it was nothing; she showed no remorse, no emotion,” Knight told the pre-sentencing hearing on Thursday.
Noel-Murray told Lovell that she was the beneficiary of three separate life insurance policies out on her husband, and she needed him dead to cash in and clear up her finances, according to the Daily News.
“She didn’t care about Omar, only herself, he was a US$900,000 check,” said Assistant District Attorney Emily Dean to Justice Firetog.
Prosecutors said, during trial, that Noel-Murray was not initially linked to her husband’s murder for over a year, during which time she remarried.
“She continues to maintain her innocence,” said Wynton Sharpe, Noel-Murray’s defense attorney.
“Alishia, you can spend the next 900,000 years in prison, one for each dollar you thought you’d get for my son’s life,” said Omar Murray’s cousin Nicole Barten, as she read a letter on behalf of Murray’s Jamaican-born mother, Eunice Ashley Henry, during the pre-sentencing hearing. “Our family is moving on, but you will always think of us.”