YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A judge sentenced a Youngstown man to 48 years to life in prison for the death and dismemberment of his ex-girlfriend, Shannon Graves.
After sitting through numerous hearings since his arrest, Debbie DePaul finally had the chance to speak in court Friday about Arturo Novoa, the man who killed her sister.
“I know he can’t get death, and maybe that’s too good for him, but we just want him to go away for a long time, please,” she said.
Last month, Novoa pleaded guilty to 43 counts, including murder in the 2017 beating death and dismemberment of his one-time girlfriend.
Prosecutors have said after the murder, Novoa, Katrina Layton, Andrew Herrmann and Michele Ihlenfeld cut up the victim’s body. Prosecutors said they doused parts of it in acid and stuffed the remains in freezers, moving them from place to place to keep from getting caught.
Novoa pleaded guilty to several charges last month.
“Your honor, this is a criminal enterprise. It was indicted as a criminal enterprise and that’s what it always will be, with Arturo Novoa and Katrina Layton as the leaders of the enterprise,” Atty. Dan Kasaris said.
The victim’s sister told the judge Novoa made up stories after Graves disappeared.
“He lied and said that she moved to Cleveland with someone, and we knew that wasn’t true because she left behind her car, her dog. Her dog was her baby,” DePaul said.
But prosecutors say Novoa and the others took the victim’s car, as well as her cell phone and even her welfare card, and used them as their own.
The lead detective on the case asked the judge to make an example of the defendant.
“Give him more years than he has to give and allow him to give us as much of that as he can,” said Det. Sgt. Mike Lambert.
Judge Anthony Donofrio called the crimes the most “horrific” and “gruesome” he’s ever seen.
In the end, he gave Novoa a life sentence. The 33-year-old won’t be eligible for parole for at least 48 years.
“This was a big part of it. This was huge,” DePaul said.
Graves’ siblings admitted they still have a long way to go before the others charged in this case come to justice.