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Paul Novak of Palm Coast Charged With Murdering His Wife in New York in 2008

| September 28, 2012

Paul Novak. (FCSO)

The area of Narrowsburg in Upstate New York is rural, sparsely inhabited, quiet. A few days before Christmas four years ago, at dawn, a split-level house at 222 County Road 25 was ravaged by fire. When it was over, authorities discovered the charred body of Catherine Novak, 41, in the basement of what remained of the house.

Novak had been a member of the Sullivan West School Board for three years, then a data specialist at the district’s central office. She also had, at the time, a son, Nicholas, in kindergarten, and a daughter, Natalee, in fourth grade. She was estranged from her husband, who was living in Long Island. The children were supposedly with him at the time.

On Thursday, the Flagler County Sheriff arrested Paul Novak, 45, who was living at 18 Lewiston Court, on a warrant from New York State. Novak is charged with second degree murder and arson. Also charged with second degree murder was 40-year-old Scott Sherwood of Lindenhurst, N.Y. Sherwood is being held without bail at the Sullivan County jail.

Novak had picked up the children the day before the blaze.

The autopsy revealed Catherine Novak “was unable to breathe after debris from her burning house piled on top of her chest, though levels of carbon monoxide in her body weren’t enough to kill her,” the Herald Record, a Hudson Valley newspaper, reported. “That left investigators wondering if she died before the fire ignited. Medical and criminal investigations didn’t find evidence that she was killed before the blaze. […] Soon after the fire, investigators said they couldn’t pinpoint a cause of the fire because it burned so thoroughly that little physical evidence remained. A state police investigator at the time said they had ruled out accidental causes and did not find any accelerants or evidence of arson.”

New York State Police had been investigating the case since 2008.

Novak bought his Palm Coast home on Lewiston Court in June 2009, according to property records, for $359,900.

The Novak home after the fire. (Sullivan County Democrat)

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13 Responses for “Paul Novak of Palm Coast Charged With Murdering His Wife in New York in 2008”

  1. they always end up here !, the land of the misfits and left overs !

  2. Dorothea says:

    I can remember when this “quiet” section of upstate New York was objecting to the Upper Delaware River getting a Scenic River designation from the National Park Service. The “quiet residents” showed up fully armed to prevent the government from taking over “their” river. When a local newspaper editorial tried to explain the economic boost this designation would bring to this depressed area, the “quiet” residents burned the editor’s house down; an arson that was never solved. Narrowsburg is a prime example that intolerance, bigotry and ignorance can be found in any part of this country. I’m betting that Novak never expected to be prosecuted. Narrowsburg (Sullivan County) style justice can best be described as if it’s your wife or girlfriend, she probably needed killing.

  3. Magnolia says:

    RIP, Catherine.

  4. Robert Lewis says:

    Did he buy the house with insurance money? 360,000 home – my god it has to be a mansion!

  5. Maryjoe says:

    Is this the same guy from Goomba’s Pizza that was under witness protection??

  6. Ben Dover says:

    No he`s out of jail again and opened another Goomba`s in New Smyrna Bch , he doesn t hide very well , should be Stupah`s

  7. Dadgum says:

    Spent a lot of time in Narrowburg, NY on the weekends to visit friends that lived there. Not far from Pennyslvania and quint towns from yesteryear. The town of Narrowsburg looked like a pictureqe painting of years gone bye. It truly was a bygone perod that would remind you of the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life.”

    I saw the signs people put out on their property and attended protests in the town center against the National Park Service and the intrusion it would cause. The NPS responded with a show of force.

    It reminded me of small time life and everyone knew everyone. I remember the Christmas turnout for caroling and singing. I loved to go and watch when the ice covered narrow Delaware River would give way and swiftly flow to larger estuaries with the Spring and warmer weather arrive. Can’t blame folks for holding on to a time slowly fading in this country.

  8. JP says:

    Very few people get away with crime…..they have to be right 100% of the time…the law only has to be right once……every criminal need to watch the first 48 hours….and realize they are not that smart….and their life will end up in a 5 by 7…..

  9. Rosemary Rampino says:

    I do not believe this. I will wait for all the facts/ evidence to be presented.

  10. Stacey Thomas says:

    I just saw the DAteline episode on this case, and wow! Unreal that they did not look at the ex-girlfriend and his friend as the culprits in this case. I mean, really…. She had all of the information and the friend, Scott, was the driver. They both knew too much, because I think they were involved in a relationship and were out to pin this on Paul to cover their own transgressions. I believe that Paul Novak was wrongly convicted in this case and it is a shame that they convicted on no direct evidence against Paul.

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