Hearing begins for Cannon airman

Freedom Newspapers

Proceedings began Monday in a Cannon Air Force Base courtroom to determine if a base airman will stand trial for the homicide of his wife.

The hearing comes more than 20 months after Kimberly Novak, 20, was found dead at the base home she shared with her husband and young daughter. She died in October 2004 of blunt force trauma to the head and neck, according to military officials.

Airman 1st Class Edward M. Novak II was charged March 21 with premeditated murder and child endangerment, according to base officials. Military officials did not release the cause of death until charges were filed against the airman.

In a small courtroom with a team of three military defense attorneys and two attorneys from the Judge Advocate General’s office representing the interests of the government, most of the first day’s testimony centered child abuse charges against the airman.

Testimony about the homicide was limited to one witness, a neighbor, who testified the night of the homicide he saw Edward Novak emerge from his home crying hysterically.” According to Sgt. Stephen Bretzinger, Novak’s house was surrounded with emergency personnel and military police.

Testimony is expected to continue today.

A premeditated murder charge may be referred to trial as a capital case, in which death would be an authorized punishment, Lt. James Nichols, chief of Cannon public affairs, told the CNJ when charges against Novak were filed. 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.

Kimberly Novak was honorably discharged from the Air Force in August 2004.