New York EMT charged in wife’s fiery death

Paul Attila Novak, formerly an emergency medical technician in New York City, has been charged in the 2008 death of his wife, Catherine Novak, who was burned beyond recognition when a massive fire consumed her home. Paul Novak then collected $800,000 in insurance money and moved to Florida with his girlfriend.

With wife found dead in fire, did EMT pull off the perfect crime? on


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5 Comments on "New York EMT charged in wife’s fiery death"

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this guy sounds like a raging psychopath. Cheats on the wife, takes out insurance policies, blows up her house, cheats on the girlfriend, and then says the girlfriend is mentally ill – he’s right at the top of the psychopath scale.

Shocked,you said it so well! It makes me shudder to think our lives are in the hands of men like this!

I can’t believe this bullshit case. Not only did that NOT have ANY physical evidence to tie this man to the case…but they built MOST of the case off of 3 unreliable “witnesses”. So you mean to tell me after almost 2 years of keeping their mouths shut and after a scorned woman was dumped by a man that didn’t want her anymore, she got up the miraculous nerve to bring this knowledge to the attention of the police. What about Scott…what was he so afraid of? I can’t believe this load of crock! This type of shit pisses me off. The prosecutor’s job is to prove without a shadow of doubt that someone is guilty of a crime. They had NO…NOOOOOOOOOOOOO hard evidence that this man (Paul Attila Novak) was guilty of this crime! Take away the mentally disturbed witness’ statements and they have nothing but circumstantial evidence. They didn’t pull the camera’s at the Walmart or the toll both. They took a picture of the license plate and called it evidence…get the fuck outta here! The didn’t even get a fire expert to examine the house. NO other suspects were pursued not even that jealous unreliable ex girlfriend of Paul was questioned for it. NO one else was given a polygraph. Did I mention that Paul PASSED his polygraph? He had be cooperative since the beginning. There were NO eye witnesses and Paul had NO motive! The money that he claimed to collect for life insurance, he could have done without. He wasn’t even in need of that money. You can’t just go off of how you feel about cases it’s all about the evidence and there wasn’t any. This man is sitting in prison for 1st degree murder. I don’t think the prosecution even had enough evidence for it be 1st degree murder. The only thing he was guilty of was dating a messed up psychotic woman like that nasty promiscuous ho that took a damn immunity bargin. The prosecution really fucked up…and once Paul gets out…I would love to be the lawyer that takes the prosecution, the police department, and those sorry excuse for witnesses to the cleaners and I would WIPE them all out!

That’s very interesting, MissInwright. I myself can’t voice any definite opinion on Paul Novak’s guilt or innocence because I don’t know anything about the case other than what I’ve read in that original New York Post article. Incidentally, for the benefit of other readers, that link seems to have changed. The article is now here:

With wife found dead in fire, did EMT pull off the perfect crime?

In view of your dissent there are a couple of things I’d like to say. Mainly, I do agree that people should not automatically believe all the garbage they see in the media! Too often, some or all of it turns out to be untrue, or at least biased or distorted in some fashion. That’s just as big a problem with some of the “news” reports cited here as anywhere else. More than once in the past I’ve found news stories that turned out to be a pack of lies, or anyway a serious misrepresentation of the facts. I wish I’d had the time to comment on them all. And as for the crap that’s constantly sptead about “domestic violence,” exaggerating its prevalence while blaming it all on men and lying to cover up the violence and child abuse committed by women, that’s a perennial problem in itself!

Unfortunately, too many people do believe what they read without questioning it—or they seem to, anyway. More than once I’ve seen myths quoted here from untrustworthy sources, and somebody has immediately remarked: “See, it’s true! So-and-so says so!” People need to be more skeptical, ask themselves whether what they’re being told seems likely, and challenge it if it isn’t. Too many people are just plain gullible.

However, just because I’ve said all that, it does not necessarily mean I believe Paul Novak is innocent. Mind you, I’m not saying he’s guilty either. I do have an open mind. What I am saying is that I don’t find these arguments for his innocence entirely convincing.

I could buy the idea that Michelle La France is a scorned woman who was vindictive enough to lie to the police that “Paul Novak killed his wife.” But she’s not the only accuser, is she? So there are three witnesses against Novak? If the other two are accusing him falsely as well, what motive would they have for doing so? It sounds to me as if Scott was caught off guard the first time police confronted him with the accusation, and admitted it was true. Then later he retracted his story to save his own neck.

If the police didn’t pull the cameras at the Walmart and the toll booth, that’s just an absence of evidence. It doesn’t prove that Novak is innocent.

Sorry, I don’t buy the idea that $800,000 insurance money is not a motive for murder. Perhaps Novak didn’t “need” the money, but $800K is still a heck of a lot to most people, including an EMT with only modest earnings. That much money could make a big improvement in his lifestyle. Besides, if Novak is a psychopath, they don’t need a major motive to commit murder. Many have killed for far smaller amounts than that. Not to mention getting rid of an inconvenient wife who might have hit him up for alimony and “child support” in addition. Whether Novak did it or not, he had motive all right.

So he passed a polygraph test? Unfortunately polygraphs aren’t always reliable. What’s more, if anyone can fool a polygraph, psychopaths are better at it than most, simply because they lack some of the physiological responses to stress that would otherwise betray normal people.

I wonder why you’re so concerned about this particular case. I’m afraid your name isn’t familiar to me. Have you posted here before? Do you happen to know Paul Novak personally? You seem to be on first name terms with him, not to mention being a passionate believer in his innocence. You wouldn’t happen to be his latest girlfriend, would you? [Edited to add (1620 EST) Or possibly even his mother? If so, you wouldn’t be the first woman on this site having to deal with the possibility that her son could be a killer.]

If this guy is a psychopathic killer, and if you’ve read this site at all carefully, you should know that psychopaths can be extremely convincing. Some of them can fool anyone into thinking whatever they want them to think. Most of all a lover who’s determined to “believe” in the psychopath, come hell or high water. So if you do know this guy I’d be very, very careful if I were you! He might not be as innocent as he claims to be.

I do agree with most of your points. My problem with this whole case is that the lack of evidence. Nothing the prosecution presented makes this case beyond a reasonable doubt. A license plate picture when we don’t know for sure who is driving and a receipt without proof on who bought the stuff does nothing for me. Also, do they know what he did with the money? I do think that is a pretty big motive but still not proof. I also don’t think he is necessarily innocent but I wouldn’t have convicted just based on this. Anyways, very good comment!

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