Steven Kraft last seen on West Church Street
A Marlboro man who disappeared in April 2020 after dropping off his daughters on West Church Street in Beacon was the victim of a plot by his ex-wife and her current husband, federal prosecutors alleged on June 16.
Jamie Orsini, 36, and Nicholas Orsini, 35, are accused of conspiring to kill Steven Kraft, 34, on April 28, 2020, dumping his Toyota Camry in the City of Newburgh and buying supplies that could be used to dismember and burn a body, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in court documents.
The Orsinis, who live in Amsterdam, New York, near Albany, were arrested there at 6 a.m. on June 15 and each charged with one count of carjacking resulting in death, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison or death, and one count of conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of five years. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday (June 29).
An affidavit signed by a state police investigator said the probe relied on GPS and cellphone data and surveillance video from public and private cameras, which captured the couple buying a tarp, duct tape and a Tyvek suit and boots at the Home Depot on Route 9 in Fishkill shortly before Kraft disappeared on April 8, and an ax, grinder and firewood soon afterward.
Prosecutors allege the couple began plotting Kraft’s murder at least two days before he disappeared. Security footage and a store receipt showed that Jamie Orsini bought, with cash, items that included a 10-foot-by-100-foot tarp and the duct tape and Tyvek suit and boots, according to the complaint. Video from the parking lot captured Nicholas Orsini helping Jamie Orsini load the supplies into the couple’s GMC Envoy, said prosecutors.
That same day, according to the complaint, the pair drove to Newburgh to allegedly determine how to dispose of Kraft’s car. Data from their phones and video footage tracked the couple traveling from West Church Street over the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge to Newburgh.
The next day, according to prosecutors, Nicholas Orsini visited the Walmart on Route 9 in Fishkill and purchased a “burner phone,” which can be activated without the user having to open an account using personal information.
Prosecutors said that Kraft, a former U.S. Marine who was 34 when he disappeared, had custody of his daughters from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and every other weekend. On April 28, 2020, the day he disappeared, Kraft picked up his daughters from his ex-wife’s home in Beacon at 4 p.m., drove them to a Sonic restaurant in the Town of Newburgh and then to his apartment in Marlboro, before returning them to Beacon at 7 p.m. Police said they used location data to confirm that Jamie and Nicholas Orsini followed him to the restaurant.
The next day, Kraft failed to show up to his job at a deli in Marlboro, and on May 4, investigators found his 1999 Camry abandoned at Third Street and Carpenter Avenue in the City of Newburgh.
One of the earliest pieces of evidence was surveillance footage showing Kraft’s car crossing the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge on April 28. Nicholas Orsini is now accused of being the driver. He allegedly parked the car, walked a mile to a Sunoco station on Route 9W, discarded one of Kraft’s phones along the way (another was left in the car) and used the burner phone to call a taxi to take him back to Beacon.
In the days following Kraft’s disappearance, the Orsinis traveled “extensively” between Beacon and Amsterdam, New York, where Nicholas Orsini’s family owns farmland, prosecutors said, before eventually moving there. Nicholas Orsini drove to Amsterdam the day after Kraft disappeared, according to court documents, stopping at the Walmart in the Town of Newburgh to buy a new burner phone.
That same day, Jamie Orsini sent a text to Kraft’s phone, asking about their children’s report cards “to create the impression that she did not know he was dead,” according to police and prosecutors.
Over the next few days, Nicholas Orsini searched Google using the term “is galvanized steel fireproof” and the couple rented space at a storage facility in Middletown, according to court documents.
Nicholas Orsini also bought from the Home Depot in Fishkill two 31-gallon galvanized steel trash cans, an angle grinder and ax, three bottles of charcoal lighter fluid, a flame lighter and 16 bundles of firewood, prosecutors said.
“These two murderous individuals allegedly deliberately took the life of another person and will now be held accountable for their actions,” said Steven Negrelli, acting superintendent for the state police.
Dean Kraft, Steven’s father, who lives in Illinois, told the Poughkeepsie Journal that he was “flabbergasted” by the arrests. “I couldn’t believe two people could have that much hate for another person,” he said.
Kraft said that, since his son disappeared, the Orsinis had not responded to his phone calls or letters when he reached out to his granddaughters, Sesame, 15, and Sidney, 13. He told the Journal he wanted his granddaughters to know “I’ve never forgotten them, and I’ll always love them.”
He added: “It’s long overdue, but I believe justice will prevail. I want justice for Steven.”