LI connection in '08 upstate slay case

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Investigators Friday declined to elaborate on the Long Island connection in the arrests of two men in the 2008 murder of a woman in Sullivan County.

State Police on Thursday arrested two men, including Scott Sherwood, 40, of Lindenhurst, on charges of second-degree murder. Also charged is Paul Novak, 45, of Palm Coast, Fla., the husband of the victim. Novak also is charged with third-degree arson.

Catherine Novak, 41, died in a morning fire at her home in the hamlet of Lava on Dec. 13, 2008, State Police said in a news release on the arrests.

No other details of the case were released by either prosecutors or State Police.

Public records show both men lived on Long Island at the time of Catherine Novak's death, and one newspaper report on the case said that Paul Novak took his two young children to his home on Long Island the night before the fatal fire.

The newspaper report also said the Novaks were in the middle of a divorce at the time of her death.

Asked Friday about Sherwood's connection in the case, Mike Orrego, an investigator with the Sullivan County district attorney's office, said no other information is being released.

"It is a case still under investigation," Orrego said.

Angela Fine, State Police information officer for Troop F in Middletown, also declined to elaborate.

"It is an ongoing case and we don't want to jeopardize the investigation," she said.

Public records show that Sherwood lived in Bethpage in 2008 and has lived at several different addresses in both Nassau and Suffolk counties since 1992.

Novak lived Glen Cove at the time of the fire, and also has lived at addresses in Valley Stream and Queens dating back to 1988, records show.

News stories published in the Sullivan County Democrat in 2009 and 2010 said investigators found Catherine Novak buried under rubble from the burned home and that she died from "traumatic asphyxiation."

Sherwood was arraigned Thursday remanded without bail to Sullivan County jail, authorities said. He is scheduled to be back in court on Tuesday.

Sherwood was represented by Legal Aid at his arraignment. A court spokeswoman said Friday Sherwood was expected to have his own attorney for his next court appearance.

Novak appeared before a judge in Flagler County, Fla., Thursday and also was jailed without bail. He is scheduled to be back in that court Friday, State Police said.

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