Victim named in Woonsocket murder

novak gibson

Jennifer Gibson and Matt Novak following the birth of their son in January – SANBORN WEEKLY JOURNAL FILE PHOTO

Jennifer Gibson, 26, of Woonsocket has been named as the victim in a Sanborn County homicide.

Matthew Walter Novak, 33, also of Woonsocket was taken into custody about 10:30 a.m. this morning following a short stand-off with state and local police at a residence at 206 S. 3rd Ave, Woonsocket. He has been charged with one count of second degree murder, punishable by a mandatory life sentence.

A SWAT team, along with members of the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and police from the Sanborn and Jerauld counties, locked down a block-wide area west of Woonoscket’s main street and a block south of the courthouse, while they diffused the situation.

Local police received a call around 9 or 9:15 this morning, reporting that there may be a situation at the home. The home is owned by Colleen Gibson, Jennifer’s mother, but neighbors say she and Matt and their four children lived there.

Sanborn County Sheriff's Deputy Naif Alatta guards the perimeter of the crime scene as Deputy Jason Coenen exits the house.

Sanborn County Sheriff’s Deputy Naif Alatta guards the perimeter of the crime scene as Deputy Jason Coenen exits the house.

Woonsocket High School, which is a block and a half away from the residence, went into a self-imposed lockdown for about 10 minutes, until police were able to arrest Novak. He was led in handcuffs by Sheriff Tom Fridley to the county courthouse a half-block away.

Novak was recognized in January by local media as fathering the first baby born in 2016 at Huron Regional Medical Center.

Authorities are still on the scene as the investigation continues. According to the Sanborn County State’s Attorney, Novak will likely appear in court around mid-September.


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