JEFFERSON — Just as a three-day jury trial was about to begin Monday morning in Jefferson County Circuit Court for Andrew S. Novak on his charge of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, the 27-year-old Watertown man saw the count dismissed as part of a plea agreement with the state.
In exchange for his no-contest plea to a charge of causing first-degree reckless injury to another person in a stabbing incident in 2020 in Watertown, Novak saw his attempted first-degree homicide charge dismissed by Judge Robert F. Dehring. Dehring convicted Novak on the reckless injury charge and a pre-sentence investigation will be conducted.
The incident for which Novak was charged occurred Nov. 9, 2020 at a Watertown pizza place that the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office would not name in its criminal complaint. The DA’s office also did not name the people involved in the incident — other than Novak — who lives at 1413 Dakota St. in Watertown.
Novak was charged in connection with the stabbing, in which he allegedly knifed a co-worker at his place of employment, a pizza restaurant.
According to the criminal complaint, on Nov. 9, 2020, officers from the Watertown Police Department were dispatched to the business located in the Jefferson County portion of the city in response to the reported stabbing.
When officers arrived, they learned that Novak had been involved in a disagreement with another male and a female co-worker over the woman’s weight. This led up to the stabbing of the male.
Novak told investigators that during a verbal confrontation with the male co-worker at the pizza place, he picked up a box of pizza crusts, which weighed approximately 20 pounds and threw it at the man. The box hit the man in the back, knocking him to the ground.
As the disagreement progressed, Novak is alleged to have become worried when the man threatened him and his family.
“Andrew stated that he then walked over to another machine, picked up a knife, hid it behind his back and walked over to the man,” the complaint said.
As the two continued to argue, Novak said he stabbed the victim one time in the stomach.
“I asked Andrew why he stabbed (the victim),” an officer in the complaint said. “Andrew stated, ‘Because I was upset and he threatened me.’”
After he allegedly stabbed the victim, Novak handed the knife over to a co-worker.
Describing a subsequent interview with Novak at the police department in the complaint, an officer said, “I asked Andrew what changed that made him stab the man. Andrew stated that he doesn’t know. Andrew stated, ‘I think I just lost it.’”
A female witness to the incident told investigators that she saw Novak try to stab the victim approximately five times, but actually stabbed him once.
Officers reported that the victim’s wound appeared to be approximately a half-inch in length, and a quarter-inch to a half-inch in width in the stomach area. When asked, (the victim) was not sure how deep the wound was.
Jury selection for the trial had been scheduled to begin Monday at 8:30 a.m. but the plea precluded the need for that when it was entered and the matter was recessed by 8:53 a.m.
A presentence investigation will be conducted, with sentencing scheduled for Nov. 11 at 3:30 p.m.