Money often makes everything messier, including — and perhaps especially — murder. CNBC’s new primetime original series, "Deadly Rich," takes viewers inside the lives of those who were driven to commit deadly acts all in the name of financial gain. These people come from all walks of life, but they are united in their relentless quest to get rich quick — no matter the cost.
The first episode of Deadly Rich dives into the murders of Miami Fontainebleau Hotel heir Ben Novack Jr. and his mother Bernice Novack. When Novack Jr. is found murdered in a New York hotel room, the secrets of his unconventional life come spilling out. His wife Narcy Novack soon becomes a key figure in both of these gruesome killings.
The Novacks aren’t unique victims — money is often a prime motive in murder cases. We rounded up four other examples of people whose obsession with cash may have led them to do the unthinkable.
Just four months after marrying her firefighter husband William Walker, Uloma Curry-Walker asked her then-17-year-old daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend to find someone to take his life. The reason? She wanted to collect $100,000 in insurance money. But as was the case for Narcy Novack, soliciting murder didn’t quite go as planned. Curry-Walker’s husband hadn’t changed the beneficiary on the insurance policy from his ex-wife’s name to Curry-Walker’s when he was killed, so it was the ex-wife who ended up getting the payout. Although Curry-Walker wrote a confession the day she surrendered to police saying that she had killed her husband because he was abusive, her attorneys didn’t call any witnesses to testify that Walker had been violent toward his wife. After being found guilty of aggravated murder and conspiracy, she was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Kisha Schaberg and Anthony Bluml
This mother-son duo killed Bluml’s adoptive parents, Roger and Melissa Bluml. According to testimony, Bluml and Schaberg planned the killings because Bluml believed that he stood to receive an inheritance of an unspecified amount. The pair met and devised a plan in California, and recruited friends to provide guns and drive the getaway car. Ultimately Bluml and Schaberg returned to Roger and Melissa's home in Wichita, Kansas, where they shot the couple in the head while they were sitting in their car. To avoid the death penalty, Bluml and Schaberg plead no contest to aggravated robbery and murder charges. Each will serve life in prison for the murder conviction, plus 122 months on two aggravated robbery convictions.
Like prime suspect Narcy in the Novack case, Alan Hruby tried to play it cool when detectives zeroed in on him following the murders of his mother, father, and sister. But it didn’t take long for the then-19-year-old to confess to the three killings. His parents had recently cut him off financially due to this over-the-top spending habits, and he was no longer able to fund his lavish lifestyle. When they denied his request for a $3,000 loan to pay off a loan shark, the money-hungry teen took their lives and his sister’s life, believing he’d then be in a position to inherit their estate. Hruby was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and is currently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole in Oklahoma. His story was recently featured on CNBC’s “American Greed.”
Stacie and Jose Mendoza
Stacie and Jose Mendoza are accused of torturing and murdering Kenneth Coyle, a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran who had first met Stacie at the Hanford, California restaurant where she worked as waitress. Police believe that Stacie took advantage of the elderly man who was just looking for people to talk to. As the two became closer, Stacie gained access to Coyle’s bank accounts and began receiving money from him. But the situation turned violent when the Mendozas held Coyle captive and beat him so that he would turn over more financial documents, including the deed to his property and power of attorney. The couple allegedly killed him, rented a U-Haul truck, loaded it with Coyle’s body and some of his belongings, drove to a spot in a nearby county, and then set the body and the other items on fire. Their three children allegedly watched the burning take place. As of April 2018, neither Stacie nor Jose Mendoza had yet entered a formal plea to their charges of suspicion of murder, torture, elder abuse, child abuse and financial crimes, among others. They are being held without bail and awaiting trial, and their children are in state custody.
To find out all the twists and turns in the Novack case, tune in to the series premiere of “Deadly Rich” July 9 | Monday 10P ET/PT.