The second week of the high profile Sullivan County murder trial is almost coming to an end. Paul Novak is accused of strangling his wife in 2008 and setting their Narrowsburg home on fire to cover up the crime. Our Eva McKend has more from the day in court.
MONTICELLO, N.Y. -- As Judge Frank LaBuda notes, this is a very emotional case with a lot at stake on both sides. If Paul Novak is convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
A third day of cross examination from the defense makes for a tense court room. With the stakes so high, Catherine Novak's family says the hope is that people remember this case is ultimately about the loss of her life.
"With everything going on in and outside of the courtroom, I don’t want to lose sight of the fact of why we are here. This is really about Catherine, finally figuring out everything that happened and then getting justice for her," said Michael Lane, Catherine's brother.
Gary Greenwald attempted to paint Michelle LaFrance as hazy on certain details like what clothing people wore on the night of the alleged murder.
LaFrance, unwavering in her claim, says it was Paul Novak who mixed chloroform in attempt to knock Catherine out before torching their Narrowsburg home. She says Novak told her he strangled Catherine to death after the substance did not work. At one point, LaFrance said she couldn't recall if she helped her then boyfriend mix the chemical.
Other important parts of the proceedings include when LaFrance said Novak's friend and fellow EMT, Scott Sherwood, immediately and without question agreed to drive Novak to Narrowsburg on the night of December 12th.
Greenwald established Novak worked double shifts before the night in question. When LaFrance was asked if it was actually her who drove up with Sherwood and killed Catherine, she said "absolutely not." LaFrance maintains Novak set fire to the home by lighting a curtain on fire from the outside using a blow torch he got from the garage, but Greenwald says that garage was locked.
Also at issue is a phone record that reveals Novak called his wife at 7:32 a.m. on the morning of December 13th 2008, hours after LaFrance says he killed her. More on that revelation on Friday.