NEW YORK, United States – A New York Supreme Court judge has 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 a Guyanese-born registered nurse and a Grenadian-born construction worker hired Portious to kill her husband, Omar Murray, 37, after two previous failed assassination attempts on his life.
Noel-Murray, who was fired as a registered nurse by the Visiting Nurse Services of New York (VNS), when she was first jailed in connection with the plot, 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 February 24, 2013, Omar Murray was shot three times and died inside his home.
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 February 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. When that plan failed, she engaged in an affair with Lovell and confided in him to solicit someone to kill Omar Murray.
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.
Prosecutors said, during the 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 defence 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.”