The jury is hours away from being able to review all of the evidence and testimony in the Paul Novak murder trial. Novak is accused of murdering his wife in 2008 and setting their Narrowsburg home on fire to cover up the crime. Our Eva McKend has more from the courthouse as things start winding down.
MONTICELLO, N.Y. -- Ahead of closing arguments, the prosecution called rebuttal witnesses, the final witnesses the jury will hear in Novak's trial.
The first of those witnesses was forensic pathologist Michael Baden. A forensic science contributor for Fox News Channel, he's worked on several high profile cases, including the trial of O.J. Simpson.
"From my point of view, and I know from the body, that it started after she was dead," he said.
Baden testified, like other pathologists, he, too, believes Catherine Novak died of traumatic asphyxia but because most of her body was badly burned, he cannot say with certainty how she stopped breathing.
"The lungs were normal, the heart was normal, all the organs were normal and there were no histories of any abnormalities that affect breathing," said Baden.
Prior witnesses like Michelle LaFrance and Scott Sherwood said Novak told them he strangled his wife, but Baden said there was no evidence of strangulation with the hands. Baden did not testify she was not strangled at all.
The prosecution also used Baden to argue the charred clothing thrown out by State Police last year had no evidentiary value. The destruction of that evidence is something the defense has called attention to throughout the trial.
"The water and the fire would impair finding of any kind of forensic evidence on the outside of the body," said Baden.
The doctor also said he believes hemorrhages occurred while Catherine was still alive and her heart was still beating.
The other rebuttal witness to take the stand was Arleene McArdle, Catherine Novak's former colleague from Sullivan West. McArdle said when Novak picked up the children from school five years ago on December 12th, 2008, he never saw his wife.
That's in direct contradiction to Natalie Novak's testimony last week. The now 13-year-old said her parents hugged on the last day she saw her mother alive.