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Murder trial in Sullivan County enters day two with unexpected testimony

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Albany/HV: Murder trial in Sullivan County enters day two with unexpected testimony
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It was an emotional day in Sullivan County court for the Paul Novak Murder trial. The man is accused of killing his estranged wife back in 2008. Our Eva McKend has details of from the second day of the trial.

MONTICELLO, N.Y. – A stunning testimony unexpected this early in the trial as Novak's ex-girlfriend Michelle La France testifies against him.

With meticulous detail, La France described her account of what happened in the days leading up to and the years after Catharine Novak's death.

La France says she knew of Novak's plan to murder his wife. She watched him mix what she believed to be chloroform and when he returned from Narrowsburg on December 13th, 2008, to their Glen Cove home, he told her he strangled Catherine and set their home on fire.

La France had originally told police Novak was with her at the time of the murder creating a false alibi but last year she implicated Novak after her boyfriend, a Sheriff's deputy, encouraged her to come forward.

Defense attorney Gary Greenwald said he was unprepared for La France on Tuesday.

Judge Frank LaBuda allowed her to testify anyway.

La France was in tears as she recounted her version of events including testimony about when the chloroform did not work. She said Novak wrestled with Catherine until her death but a police video interview played during the trial showed a very different La France, giddy and laughing.

La France will continue her testimony Wednesday and the court will continue to watch the approximately six hour video of her confession from that police interview.

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