YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A man serving a 48-year sentence for the 2017 murder and dismemberment of a West Side woman recently lost his bid to take his guilty plea back.
The Seventh District Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 29 against Arturo Novoa, 37, who appealed his convictions on Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for the 2017 murder of Shannon Graves, 27, her dismemberment and the cover-up of her death.
Graves, who had been Novoa’s girlfriend, was murdered sometime in February 2017, and parts of her body were cut up and later found in a freezer June 29, 2017, in Campbell while other parts were dissolved in acid. Some of her belongings were also burned.
Besides Novoa, three other people were also convicted for helping him cover up Graves’ death.
Novoa pleaded guilty to counts of murder, abuse of a corpse and several other charges in 2019 and was sentenced June 14, 2019, to 48 years in prison by Judge Anthony Donofrio.
Novoa appealed his conviction and sentence and the Seventh District ruled that he had to be resentenced because of an issue with how the charges were merged, but they upheld his conviction.
Judge Donofrio resentenced Novoa Feb. 9, 2022, and gave him the same sentence.
Novoa appealed that sentence March 9, 2022, saying that the judge refused to allow him to take back his guilty plea; that consecutive sentences he received in the case should not have been applied; and that he did not have a chance to speak before he was resentenced.
The appeals court ruled 3-0 against Novoa, saying that since his conviction was upheld on his initial appeal, the trial court had no authority to allow him to take back his guilty plea.
The court also found Novoa’s argument that consecutive sentences should not have been applied without merit, saying that there appropriate because of his past criminal record and also because he was out on bond at the time Graves was killed.
As for not allowing him to talk, the court noted in its ruling that the trial transcript showed Judge Donofrio asking Novoa if he had anything to say before he was resentenced and Novoa said, “No.”