A “sophisticated” carjacking murder and attempted cover-up involving a “burner phone” was partially uncovered because the new man charged in the death of his wife’s ex wore a New York Jets hoodie while committing the crime , the US authorities claim.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Nicholas Orsini, 35, and Jamie Orsini, 36, of Amsterdam face life in prison or the death after being charged with carjacking resulting in death and conspiracy in the alleged 2020 murder of 34-year-old Steven Kraft, a Marlboro man who served in the US Marines.
Prosecutors allege the defendants planned at least two days in advance to commit the crime, plotting how to dispose of their target’s 1999 Toyota Camry in a dry run, while also purchasing a “burner phone” at Walmart and using cash to buy items . from Home Depot as “a 10×100 foot tarp, duct tape, and a Tyvek suit and boots.”
On the day of the murder, April 28, 2020, the victim had scheduled custody between 16:00 and 19:00 of the two daughters he shared with Jamie Orsini. Prosecutors said using GPS phone data, Kraft picked up the children at the suspects’ 10 West Church St. home in Beacon and drove to a Sonic restaurant, where the defendants allegedly followed him and bought their own food — using a credit card.
“GPS data showed NICHOLAS’ personal phone – and cell data showed JAMIE’s personal phone – after Kraft’s phones to Sonic; surveillance video from Sonic showed ORSINIS’ GMC pulling up to buy food shortly after Kraft’s Camry; a Sonic receipt showed the purchase of $7.77 of food around the time ORSINIS’ GMC stopped, and a credit card receipt—using JAMIE’s credit card—showed a $7.77 purchase of a kid’s burger with bacon, small fries , an apple juice box and a quarter pound of cheese from ORSINIS at Sonic.”
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The defendants allegedly activated a burner phone and followed Kraft back to their residence, where he dropped off his daughters around 7 p.m., prosecutors said.
“[H]e was never seen again,” the complaint read.
Nicholas Orsini is accused of lying to coworkers in inconsistent ways about why he didn’t show up for work on April 28, 2020, when the defendants allegedly drove the victim’s car to Newburgh — using the “same well-worn route the couple traveled in their dry run” – and threw the vehicle into the street:
I have reviewed pictures taken from a phone belonging to one of NICHOLAS’s employees, which show that the colleague at approximately 18.08 on 28 April 2020 texted NICHOLAS asking when he would come to work; at approximately 20.06 the colleague called NICHOLAS, who did not pick up; NICHOLAS did not respond until 8:10 p.m. when he texted that his wife’s car broke down and they were waiting for a AAA tow (“Yo my wife broke down near Harrimen triple cover toe o can’t get there now I’m there tomorrow”); at 20:15 NICHOLAS wrote back another story, explaining that he was putting his baby to bed (“I’m putting the baby to sleep. I’ll answer if I can or call you back”). As described below were ORSINIS’s phones during this time both in or around 10 West Church Street and AAA reports they did not receive a call about a tow that evening.
Those alleged lies constitute evidence that led to charges, but Nicholas Orsini was allegedly caught on video throwing a burner phone while wearing a New York Jets hoodie at a Sunoco gas station about a mile away from where the Toyota was dumped. said.
The hoodie, a Levi’s hat and blue bandana were each found during an August 2020 search, the complaint said:
c. Surveillance video showed what appears to be the same man I believe to be NICHOLAS at the Sunoco gas station – at a time consistent with having left the location where the person was seen on the other surveillance video – making movements consistent with using a cell phone to make a call and then appearing to discard the phone, enter the Sunoco gas station, purchase a Monster Energy Drink with a $100 bill, and exit again; shortly afterwards a taxi picks up the person. Cell phone and call log data for the 7755 burner phone show that the 7755 burner phone was used at the time to call a taxi service from the area of the Sunoco gas station and was never used again. Surveillance footage from the Newburgh Beacon bridge shows the taxi traveling from Newburgh to Beacon at a time consistent with picking up the person and driving him back to Beacon; video surveillance from a few blocks from 10 West Church Street shows the taxi at 9:46 p.m., which is consistent with the taxi picking up the person at the Sunoco gas station and driving over the Newburgh Beacon Bridge.
d. I believe the person was NICHOLAS because – in addition to the fact that he appeared to be traveling from Kraft’s Camry, which he had just driven from 10 West Church Street, his use of the 7755 burner phone and his travel back to the area 10 West Church Street – in the surveillance video, the subject was wearing a certain Jets sweatshirt/hoodie with the hood up, a patterned blue bandana around his face, blue latex gloves and a Levi’s stadium baseball cap. I have reviewed a photograph of NICHOLAS from JAMIE’s Google account wearing what appears to be the same Jets sweatshirt/hoodie. In August 2020, law enforcement officers also searched 10 West Church Street as well as ORSINIS’ new home in Amsterdam, New York and found a patterned blue bandana, latex gloves and a Levi’s stadium baseball cap identical to those used. at the Sunoco gas station.
Prosecutors said one of Jamie’s daughters received no response when she texted her mother around 10 p.m. 19.53 and asked “Where are you?” and when she wrote “..” two minutes later. Then at around 9.43pm one of the girls texted her mum “Goodnightloveyou”.
Just a few minutes later, around At 9:47 p.m., Jamie allegedly texted Nicholas “He’s sleeping…so come in the room so we can f…” A government footnote suggested the sleeping person the text referred to was Orsinis’ “very young” son .
According to the government, the alleged cover-up attempt occurred over the following days, and “Google search data for NICHOLAS’ phone, surveillance video, and store receipts” helped develop probable cause that the man was “investigating what others might know about his crime, researched what would be needed to burn evidence (or a body) and purchased tools to dismember and burn a body.”
“In particular, on April 29, 2020, NICHOLAS ORSINI – who, like JAMIE ORSINI, left his own phone at home in Beacon – bought a new burner phone and then drove approximately two and a half hours to Amsterdam either alone or with JAMIE ORSINI, stayed for less than three hours and then drove back to Beacon. The next day, on April 30, 2020, NICHOLAS ORSINI used his phone to search for ‘How to view your location history on google maps,'” prosecutors said. “On May 1, 2020, drove The ORSINIs again to and from Amsterdam, again leaving their personal phones behind but using their burner phone. Later that day, the ORSINIs changed the phone number on their burner phone in an apparent attempt to cover their tracks.”
The allegedly nervous defendant Googled “Orange County News” and “Montgomery County News” to keep track of the status of any investigation.
Nicholas Orsini on May 2, days after Kraft was last seen alive, went back to Home Depot and made more incriminating purchases consistent with disposing of a body, the complaint said. The defendants allegedly purchased “31 gallons of galvanized steel, round trash cans, a rough stainless steel bar, an angle grinder with a grinding wheel, five metal discs, three 32-ounce bottles of odorless charcoal lighter fluid, two charcoal grates, an ax, and a flame lighter.”
Authorities said Jamie Orsini was also caught in a key lie months after Kraft’s disappearance:
I have spoken with the property manager for 10 West Church Street who told me that on or about August 7, 2020 the defendant JAMIE ORSINI contacted the property manager and asked where in the apartment the police were searching and also told. the property manager that her ex-husband got into his car like he usually does after he let the girls out and went on his way. (This contradicts what JAMIE told New York State Police investigators on May 6, 2020: that after Kraft let the kids out, JAMIE spoke with Kraft outside 10 West Church Street for 45 minutes to an hour before Kraft left. is in conflict with what a Marlboro police officer told me JAMIE told him: that Kraft had stayed 10 to 15 minutes after dropping off his daughters).
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams noted in a statement that the alleged scheme was “sophisticated” but ultimately failed.
“A little over three years ago, Nicholas and Jamie Orsini allegedly planned to and killed Jamie’s ex-husband, Steven Kraft. Their alleged plan was sophisticated — it involved burning phones, stealing and dumping Kraft’s car, and ultimately disposing of Kraft’s body. By doing so the Orsinis denied Kraft’s family — including Kraft’s children with Jamie — the dignity of having a proper burial,” Williams said. “This complaint shows that no matter how well you cover up your heinous act, law enforcement will not relent until they uncover your crimes.”
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