Plea Deal Possible in Beacon Disappearance

Woman and husband charged in death of her ex

The lawyers for a former Beacon woman and her husband charged in the death of her ex-husband may be negotiating a plea deal, according to court filings.

steven-kraft

Steven Kraft disappeared on April 28, 2020.

Jamie and Nicholas Orsini were arrested on June 15 and charged with conspiring to kill Steven Kraft. The Marlboro resident has not been seen since April 28, 2020, after he returned the two daughters he shared with Jamie Orsini to her home on West Church Street following a custody visit.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York charged each Orsini 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. The couple’s lawyers asked for a postponement, until Aug. 9, of a preliminary hearing scheduled for July 12 in White Plains. 

The two suspects are being prosecuted separately. In both cases, according to court filings, prosecutors said they needed a postponement because the Orsinis’ lawyers have been “engaging in preliminary discussions with the government concerning possible disposition of this case without trial” as well as “about whether the government will seek the death penalty.” 

The Orsinis, who moved to Amsterdam, New York, near Albany, soon after Kraft disappeared, were arrested there at 6 a.m. on June 15. A state police affidavit said the investigation relied on GPS and cellphone data and surveillance video from public and private cameras. 

Nicholas Orsini

Nicholas Orsini is a suspect in the disappearance of Steven Kraft. (U.S. vs Orsini)

Prosecutors allege the couple began plotting Kraft’s murder at least two days before he disappeared. Security footage and a receipt from the Home Depot on Route 9 in Fishkill showed Jamie Orsini buying, with cash, items that included a 10-foot-by-100-foot tarp, duct tape and a 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 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, where Nicholas Orsini’s family owns farmland, prosecutors said. 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.

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.

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