A New York husband and wife allegedly used burner phones, heavy machinery and meticulous planning to murder the wife’s ex-husband and thoroughly cover their tracks, federal prosecutors allege.
Nicholas and Jamie Orsini were arrested Thursday for the 2020 death of Steven Kraft, Jamie’s ex-husband and the father of two of her children.
An 18-page criminal complaint unsealed Thursday charged the Orsinis with conspiracy and carjacking resulting in death. It also laid out the extraordinary lengths the couple allegedly went to in their scheme to carjack Kraft, kill him, and dispose of his car and his body.
On April 26, 2020—two days before Kraft’s death—the Orsinis were hard at work prepping their plot, the complaint says. Their first stop was a Home Depot in Fishkill, where Jamie allegedly purchased items including a 10x100 foot paint tarp, duct tape, and a full-body Tyvek suit and boots. She paid cash for the entire purchase, the complaint says.
Next up was a dry run. Nicholas and Jamie took their GMC on a roundabout route from their Beacon home to the neighboring town of Newburgh, according to GPS data cited in the complaint, practicing how they would ultimately get rid of Kraft’s car two days later.
The next day, receipts show the Orsinis buying a burner phone at a Walmart—also paying in cash, the feds say.
April 28 was the big day. That afternoon, Kraft picked up his kids from the Orsinis’ house in Beacon, the complaint says. The Orsinis then allegedly followed Kraft to a Sonic in Newburgh, where they got a couple of burgers and activated a burner phone.
Kraft brought the kids back to the Orsinis’ house at approximately 7 p.m. that night. He was never seen again.
While authorities didn’t detail the exact time and nature of Kraft’s death, prosecutors believe the carjacking and murder took place shortly after Kraft dropped off the children.
Nicholas was located driving Kraft's Toyota Camry later that night, per the complaint. GPS data allegedly showed that he took the car on nearly the exact same route as the couple had practiced two days before, from Beacon to Newburgh. He then ditched the car, walked to a gas station about a mile away, called a cab on his burner phone before disposing of it, bought a Monster Energy Drink with a $100 bill, then was driven home in the taxi.
In the days following the alleged killing, prosecutors say the Orsinis feverishly tried to cover their tracks.
Jamie texted Kraft in an alleged attempt to create the impression that she didn’t know he was dead, prosecutors say. She sent him a text message on April 29 asking about one of their children’s report cards.
“They did not typically text about their children’s academics,” the complaint said.
At one point, the complaint says, Jamie even called the Marlboro Police Department to ask about Kraft.
Meanwhile, Nicholas bought a new burner phone—changing its number at least once—and started taking trips to see his family in Amsterdam, New York, leaving his personal phone at home each time, the complaint says. At one point, he allegedly Googled “How to view your location history in google maps.”
He even questioned his mother about who she told about his visits, the complaint says.
On May 2, he allegedly Googled “is galvanized steel fireproof?” just hours before another trip to Home Depot, where receipts revealed purchases of two 31-gallon galvanized steel round trash cans, a coarse stainless-steel rod, an angle grinder with grinding wheel, five metal disks, three 32-ounce bottles of odorless charcoal grates, an axe, and a flame lighter. The next morning, he returned, this time buying 16 bundles of firewood, the complaint says.
The details of Kraft’s death are still unclear, and his body had not been located. Prosecutors believe it to have been burned.
“In doing so, the Orsinis denied Kraft’s family—including Kraft’s children with Jamie—the dignity of having a proper burial,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.
New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli commended the investigators for the yearslong investigation.
“These two murderous individuals allegedly deliberately took the life of another person and will now be held accountable for their actions,” he said.