By Elizabeth Skrapits, Staff Writer
Satanic elements might be involved in the murder of 24-year-old Stephen Novak, but officials can't say for sure. "They came across items involving the occult and things of that nature as part of the investigation," said Luzerne County District Attorney David Lupas.
Novak and a fellow Nanticoke resident, a close friend police have described as a person of interest in the case, both had enough guns, bayonets, and ammunition to outfit a small army.
But the devil was in the details.
Police found many occult-related items in the home of Novak's friend, according to an inventory of seized property filed with Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker of Nanticoke.
There were candles, a metal statue of the Grim Reaper, a "666" sticker, a ceremonial dagger, two dolls, a metal coffin with a gargoyle on it, and a black box containing various religious items such as a crucifix and holy water bottles.
Police also found literature including Clive Barker's Hellraiser and underground magazines, HeXen II and Malice video game boxes, and a calendar featuring the art of H. R. Giger.
"(Authorities) are not commenting right now on what role it plays, but obviously they're interesting items they came across during the investigation," Lupas said.
Ever since Novak was found dead under a Jeep Cherokee in a wooded area off West Main Street in Nanticoke July 16, investigators have been trying to gather background information on him and anyone associated with him, Lupas said.
In a request for another search warrant from Whittaker, police stated that on July 20 investigators searched Novak's residence and found numerous publications and CDs related to the occult and satanic worship, as well as what appeared to be animal skulls.
Lupas said authorities are not sure what Satanism or the occult might have to do with the case, but investigators are looking into it.
So far they have made a lot of progress, compiling a timeline and piecing the case together, Lupas said.
Asked if authorities may be making an arrest soon, Lupas replied, "Hopefully, if they keep progressing. Obviously their goal is to build a case to where an arrest may be made, but they are not to that point yet."