CAMPBELL, Ohio (WKBN) – The family of Shannon Graves said they are one step closer to seeing justice. The man accused of killing her in 2017 pleaded guilty Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
It was supposed to be his last hearing before jury selection started Monday morning but instead, accused killer Arturo Novoa gave up.
Novoa was charged in the death of Graves, his one-time girlfriend, two years ago on Youngstown’s west side. Her dismembered body was found months later, stuffed into a freezer at a home in Campbell.
Novoa and several others were accused of getting rid of her body, then using the victim’s credit cards, cell phone and car.
“You understand that if you plead guilty today, you’re making a complete admission to all of these charges?” Judge Anthony Donofrio asked Novoa in court.
“Yes, your honor,” he replied.
In the end, Novoa repeated the word “guilty” to more than 40 felony counts:
– 24 counts of tampering with evidence
– 6 counts of abuse of a corpse
– 3 counts of possession of criminal tools
– 3 counts of illegal use of food stamps
– 1 count of grand theft of a motor vehicle
– 4 counts of trafficking in marijuana
– 1 count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity
The victim’s sister, Debbie DePaul, said she had actually been looking forward to a trial.
“I was a little blown back, sort of deflated because I did. I want everyone to know what they did.”
DePaul said while she had suspicions about how her sister died, she called having them confirmed “mindblowing.”
“It’s this wave that comes over you. That it doesn’t seem that it could be real, that that really happened, but you know it did.”
At this point, two others — Andrew Herrmann and Ellie Ihlenfeld — are still awaiting trial in the case. They’re accused of helping Novoa.
Prosecutors are trying to take back the deal made more than a year ago with third suspect Katrina Layton.
In the meantime, Novoa is set to be sentenced June 14. He faces life in prison.