By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
The father of a homicide victim is left anxiously hoping enough evidence was presented at last week’s military hearing at Cannon Air Force to warrant a trial.
Donald Bollman traveled from Conway, Ark., to attend the three-day hearing, wanting to see justice for his daughter, Kimberly Novak, who was found dead Oct. 28, 2004, at a Cannon housing unit. He returns home not knowing if his daughter’s husband, Airman Edward Novak II, will stand trial for muder in her death.
A decision by Air Force personnel is expected to take weeks, possibly months, according to Air Force officials.
Bollman said he was surprised by the limited evidence presented at the hearing, although prosecutors told him much of it would be circumstantial.
“They told us all along that there was no smoking gun,” Bollman said.
Prosecutors have reassured his family more evidence will be revealed at trial, Bollman said.
The defense contends the government’s case against Edward Novak is built on circumstantial evidence. Novak was charged with murder March 21 and could face the death penalty if convicted.
The hearing was just one more step in the process toward closure.
The investigation period was difficult, he said.
“I was frustrated, not for the lack of information but for the time it was taking. (Investigators) were giving us information but it was taking so long to do everything.”
Why investigators did not immediately view Novak as a suspect and why it took so long to interview and screen him for evidence are points of difficulty for Bollman, who said he had suspicions soon after hearing the circumstances surrounding his 20-year-old daughter’s death.
Novak’s demeanor at the memorial service and funeral added to his suspicions, he said. He said Edward Novak never displayed any emotion and at times seemed downright “jovial,” cutting up and joking casually, a fact that unsettled and upset many family members, according to Bollman.
“I was a little disappointed that they didn’t treat him as a suspect earlier on and read him his rights and stuff earlier. I don’t know if that’s going to hurt the case or not,” Bollman said.
Testimony by investigators at the hearing revealed Novak was not read his rights prior to being interviewed on more than one occasion.
It has been more than 20 months since Kimberly Novak was found dead in the military housing unit she shared with her husband and infant daughter.
Bollman said the news his daughter wanted to get married shortly after joining the military and a whirlwind wedding were some things he accepted but concerned him, Bollman said.
Bollman said the close relationship he had with his daughter began to disintegrate when she married Novak. He tried to rationalize the change, attributing it to his little girl growing up, he said. As time passed he began to feel Novak was controlling the relationship and his daughter, directing what she said and to whom.
“He was definitely a loner. Kim was pretty outgoing. I don’t think he had any friends really. Kim would always tell us ‘we have no friends.’ I think it was starting to wear on her.”
Kimberly Novak’s family never really got the chance to know her new husband. She died one year and three months into the marriage. In many ways, Bollman said, her husband is still a stranger.
Bollman said he has turned things over to the Lord and has faith justice will prevail somehow.
Previous attempts by the CNJ to speak with Novak family members have been unsuccessful.
Defense attorneys said they are unable to address details in their client’s case.