Man sentenced to 40 years for ex-girlfriend’s murder

 SHERIFF TOM Fridley and Officer Shane Mentzer walk Matthew Novak into the Sanborn County Courthouse for his sentencing hearing Tuesday afternoon.

SHERIFF TOM Fridley and Officer Shane Mentzer walk Matthew Novak into the Sanborn County Courthouse for his sentencing hearing Tuesday afternoon.

Family and friends of Jennifer Gibson, the victim of Woonsocket’s second murder in 44 years, filled Sanborn County’s courtroom last Tuesday afternoon, March 28, clad in purple as a symbol of domestic violence, to await the sentencing of their loved one’s killer.
Matthew Novak, dressed in black and white stripes courtesy of the Beadle County Jail, filed into the courtroom minutes before proceedings began, with his lawyer, parents and brother in tow, showing their own support for their family member and admitted killer.
Judge Jon Erickson stated that no one leaving the courtroom that day would be happy with the outcome, and that statement was certainly true for those in support of the victim’s friends and family. Citing Novak’s lack of a prior violent record, his apparent remorsefulness, his recent conduct leading up to sentencing, and that the crime “does not appear premeditated” and “was truly in the heat of the moment,” Erickson chose not to dispense the maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Although a few in attendance were relieved, sounds of shock and outrage reverberated throughout the room in response to the sentence that followed — 40 years in the penitentiary with 208 days credit, along with a bill for restitution and costs adding up to around $8,500.

…To read more, pick up this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal.

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