Novak pleads not guilty

Grand Jury indicts Novak on first degree murder

MATTHEW NOVAK is brought into the courthouse Tuesday afternoon by Sanborn County Deputy Jason Coenen.

MATTHEW NOVAK is brought into the courthouse Tuesday afternoon by Sanborn County Deputy Jason Coenen.

Matthew Walter Novak, 33, pled not guilty to first degree murder for the Aug. 31 death of Jennifer Ann Gibson, 26, of Woonsocket in Sanborn County Court, Tuesday afternoon.
Monday morning, a Sanborn County Grand Jury found enough evidence to indict Novak on first degree murder. He was originally arrested for second degree murder.
The grand jury also charged Novak, Woonsocket, with second degree murder and two counts of first degree manslaughter
Gibson was killed in her home at 206 S. 3rd Ave., Woonsocket. Neighbors say Novak, Gibson and Gibson’s four young children lived in the home.
Authorities have not yet released the cause of death.
According to the indictment, the first degree murder charge states that “[Novak] did kill another human being … without authority of law and with a premeditated design to effect the death of Jennifer Ann Gibson.”
First degree murder is a Class A felony and carries a penalty of death or life imprisonment. A lesser sentence than death or life in prison may not be given, and a fine of $50,000 may also be imposed.
Second degree murder is a Class B felony and carries a minimum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of $50,000 may also be imposed.
The first degree manslaughter charges state that “he did kill another human being … without any design to effect the death of Jennifer Ann Gibson, in the heat of passion, but in a cruel or unusual manner” and “…by means of a dangerous weapon.”
Witnesses testifying at the grand jury were, Tyler Neuharth, Dr. Kenneth Snell, Russell Novak, Donald Novak, Dawn Novak, Jerauld County Sheriff Jason Weber and Sanborn County Deputy Jason Coenen.
Authorities from the Sanborn and Jerauld County sheriff’s offices, the Department of Criminal Investigation and the Highway Patrol locked down a block-wide area around the home the morning of Aug. 31, after local police received a call that an incident may have occurred at the residence.
Police were able to take Novak into custody a short time later, without further incident.
Novak is being held in the Beadle County Jail on a $350,000 bond. He is being represented by court-appointed attorney, Jeffrey Burns.
Sanborn County State’s Attorney Jeff Larson and Assistant Attorney General Brent Kempema are prosecuting the case.

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