By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer
More than 16 months after her death, Air Force officials have charged Kimberly Susan Novak’s husband with murder.
Novak, 20, died in her Cannon Air Force Base residence in late October 2004, according to Cannon’s public affair’s office.
Her husband, Airman Edward Novak II of the 27th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, was charged Tuesday with murder and child abuse, according to a Cannon press release.
He is accused of killing his wife by means of blunt force trauma to the head and neck on or about Oct. 28, 2004, according to information provided by 1st Lt. James Nichols, 27th Fighter Wing deputy chief of public affairs.
Edward Novak is also accused of placing a child in a situation on base that endangered “her life or her health by leaving her unattended for hours at a time, failing to provide proper nourishment, and failing to change her diaper as needed,” according to information provided by Nichols. The abuse occurred on separate occasions between January 2005 and May 2005, Air Force officials allege.
The investigation into Kimberly’s death lasted 16 months because Air Force officials wanted it to be thorough, according to Nichols.
“The investigation began immediately after emergency responders were dispatched to the scene of the death. It included more than 50 witness interviews, gathering of numerous items of possible evidentiary value, various forensic analyses, supervisory investigative reviews and follow up as warranted, all in the interest of ensuring a thorough investigation,” Nichols said.
Edward Novak has been held in confinement since Tuesday, according to Nichols, who would not comment on where he was being confined.
“The necessity for continued confinement will be reviewed,” at a later date, Nichols said via e-mail.
Novak will receive a military investigation hearing to determine if there is sufficient cause to believe a crime was committed and if he committed that crime. It is usually directed by a wing commander and is similar to a civilian preliminary hearing and a grand jury proceeding, according to Nichols.
A premeditated murder charge may be referred to trial as a capital case, in which death would be an authorized punishment, Nichols reported in an e-mail. Other possible punishments include confinement for life, a dishonorable discharge, total forfeiture of pay and allowances, and reduction to the lowest enlisted grade. The maximum punishment for the child abuse charge includes confinement for three years, a dishonorable discharge, total forfeiture of pay and allowances, and reduction to the lowest enlisted grade.
The couple had a daughter, Rebecca Anne Novak, according to previous reports on the homicide.
Cannon Air Force Base officials would not disclose the child’s whereabouts, citing “privacy interests.”
“It is improper for the Air Force to comment on the … family’s situation,” Nichols said via e-mail.
Kimberly Novak was born on Feb. 29, 1984, in Grayling, Mich., to Donald and Patricia Bollman, according to information provided for her obituary. She was inducted into the Air Force in June 2002. She worked in aircraft armament systems at Cannon until she was honorably discharged in August 2004.
Efforts to contact members of Edward Novak’s and Kimberly Novak’s family were unsuccessful on Tuesday.