Criminal Justice System

I have created this blog to discuss Americans in American prisons.

Their families - their victims - their life in prison - did they learn anything--- and is the American prison system rehabilitative? Traumatic? Or do they come out worse than when they went in?
I will talk about miscellaneous cases - and try to contact the prisoners with reader's questions.....
I will post the inmates letters - comments -- etc.
I hope you will find this site educational - informational - and eye opening.
All the best -

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shawn Paul Novak

As a former resident of Virginia Beach - I know this case personally.

Shawn Novak was a resident of the Wadsworth Military Housing Community with his family in the early 90's.
He attended Virginia Beach Junior High - and First Colonial High School.
He was very bright - eclectic -- and also a little bit on the "weird" side.
I remember hearing about him in my high school - and how the other kids would say that he wore dead birds around his neck - and a cat's paw - on the last day of school.... I don't know if these stories are true --- I am going to try to find out.....
Well, as the case goes - Shawn was out in his neighborhood on an evening, March 04,1991. He ran into 2 children- Daniel Wayne Geier (9) and Christopher "Scot" Weaver (7), riding their bicycles. The two children were interested in Shawn - because he always had mysterious and mystical stories to tell - and he engaged in magical role playing episodes with the kids in the neighborhood.
Shawn was very interested in the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game at the time. The Virginian Pilot and Ledger Star reports that Shawn saw the youngsters as "Kender" or "Kinder" as in the D & D game. "Kender" are described as "small boned" and under 4 ft tall. They are described as "savage warrior children, ever curious, ever alert". (Wikipedia)
So, on this evening in March, Shawn was playing with the two children- and they entered the woods on the outskirts of the housing complex.
Apparently, the 2 young boys put their bikes on a trail at the beginning of the woods - and entered the wooded area with Shawn.
Shawn carried a knife. A big, serrated knife with a bone handle. The two children were so interested in the knife - they were begging Shawn to allow them to handle it.
He refused......
The 2 boys schemed to get the knife away from Shawn - and they managed to do so......
Shawn eyed Daniel with the knife - and then (as the defense states) he went into a type of dysphoric experience.. Shawn attacked - as if he were an actual D & D warrior. He slit the boys throats - killing them
Maybe Shawn was in a fog---- maybe he was in another reality---- who knows????
Shawn later explained to a psychiatrist that he "watched the [killings] from above." As if the whole event were an"out of body" experience.

He laid the dead boys next to each other, and covered them with pine branches and leaves.

When the two boys did not return home that evening, a search party was coordinated.
A Washington Post article dated March 07, 1991 reads: "A round the clock search involving dogs, divers, helicopters and hundreds of officers, neighbors and members of the military turned up their fully clothed bodies Tuesday evening, partly hidden under branches, about a half-mile from home."

"A young boy who knows the woods well helped guide police." This "young boy" was Shawn.

Classmates of Shawn told the police that he had come to school bragging about finding the boys bodies.

Shawn, 16, was tried in the Virginia Beach Circuit Court as an adult, and was sentenced to life. He will come up for parole in 2011.


  1. I remember this, I also went to school with Shawn & heard the rumours of the dead bird around his neck, I also heard he hung his family dog from a tree. Are you going to do any more on this blog?

    1. His family didn't have a dog. His mother would not allow pet animals in the house.

  2. I knew Daniel and Chris we were neighbors, but Shawn never seem weird to me. He was always nice and spoke to everyone around him. I couldn't believe it when it happened until all the evidence came about.

    1. there was no physical evidence. Not even a single drop of blood or scrap of DNA.

    2. I was a neighbor to Shawn .It was a very sad day,at the time I had small children,I assisted the families looking through the neighborhood,I sat and watched as the crime lab came and took evidence out.then the family was gone.I hope he never gets out.

    3. I was a neighbor to Shawn .It was a very sad day,at the time I had small children,I assisted the families looking through the neighborhood,I sat and watched as the crime lab came and took evidence out.then the family was gone.I hope he never gets out.

  3. I can verify the story about the dead birds. I lived in Wadsworth Housing at the time. I can also verify that he was considered "weird" even to those of us that played D&D. He hung around on the outskirts of our group of friends. I don't think the dog from the tree is true or at least I never heard it before. I will say that Sean checked out books on serial and psychotic killers from the library for months before any of this happened. I have no doubt that this was not "planned" in detail, but it makes it no less horrifying. Even those of us that knew him still, 20 years later it is hard to believe.

  4. I remember this as well, in school a lot of people didn't hang around him because he was "werid" always wore a jean jacket with with the sleeves cut off with a heavy leather jacket underneath. You pretty much stayed out of his way when he walked down the hall. He had the look of "don't mess with me or else".

  5. I went to school with Shawn. Did not know him personally but crossed art classes with him many times...maybe spoke to him a half a dozen times when our art classes had the same room due to sharing supplies. He was what someone would consider weird in relation to the main stream at FC HS (not a jock, not a surfer, not a stoner) He wore all black when I saw him in class, large cross on chain around his neck (never saw the bird or cats paw). Never saw him look into anyones eyes when he talked to them. I do remmeber he would talk to himself...not pyschotic like but more like a conversation in his head that he was verbally expressing. It was odd but then most things about him seemed odd in relation to his environment. He was not the slightest bit intimidating because he was kind of small/slight framed kid who walked with his head down most times I saw him. I was suprised but shocked when I found out he committed those murders. I was really only shocked by the brutality of it and the fact that those poor kids were so young. But if given a police line up of all the poeple in my HS school he would have made the first selection of potentials.

  6. I was also living in Wadsworth at the time. Was also an acquaintance of Shawn as well. We had been part of the same D&D circle of friends. This murder touched home in a lot of ways. The day of the murders, me and several friends were in the woods. We were the ones who found the bikes. When we found them, we did not know whose they were. This was before the two young kids went missing offically. Being young kids at the time, we did something unexpected. We thought it would be funny to throw the bikes in the lake that separated the woods of Wadsworth and the ??Great Lake?? subdivision. So we tossed them in. Unbeknownst to us, the murders were happening at the same time. When the hunt started for the kids, all the information was that they were snapped up by a black man. Of course. The whole community was shocked when Shawn turned himself in. This experience has troubled me throughout my life. What if we had been only yards away from the boys? What if we could have saved them? What if.. I dont' know if anyone will read this or care, but I felt I need to say something.

    1. What if...they could have gotten away if their bikes had been there for them to use....what if.....I care

    2. Do not blame yourself. EVER.
      The boys were too far in the woods, otherwise you would have heard them. There's no way Shawn let them go too far out of his sight. Shawn is the only one to blame. Those poor boys didn't have a chance with or without the bikes.

  7. I remember allot of speculation that Novak took the fall for the kid who owned the knife that was used. What I remember most about this unfortunate event was all the really stupid people going full retard.