Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 17, 2012

No bond for murder suspect

PRINCETON — Bond was denied Monday in Mercer County Circuit Court for a Bluewell woman who is now facing a murder charge in North Carolina.

Melissa Rovnak, 44, appeared for a hearing before Judge William Sadler concerning extradition proceedings that could send her to Moore County, N.C., to face a charge of murder.

Rovnak is a suspect in the Dec. 29, 2002 murder of her husband, Scott Rovnak, who was found dead at the couple’s home in Aberdeen, N.C. Detective Robert Langford of the Moore County Sheriff’s Department said at the time of her arrest in Mercer County that the case has been ongoing for 10 years.

Scott Rovnak had been shot in the back of his head with a handgun, Langford said. Prior to her arrest, Melissa Rovnak was considered a person of interest in the case. North Carolina investigators said they have a motive, but declined to divulge additional details.

Members of Melissa Rovnak’s family were in the courtroom Monday as she was led inside. She raised her cuffed hands and waived a little as one woman sobbed.

Sarah Harmon of the Mercer County Public Defender’s Office told Sadler that she did not believe Rovnak was a flight risk.

“She is 44 years old, and she has never in her life been arrested, Harmon said.

Rovnak, a native of the area, moved back to Bluewell in 2003. She has family here and had a career, her attorney stated.

Harmon said if her client was released on bond, she could stay on home confinement either at her own home or her father’s residence with electronic monitoring.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler countered that Rovnak is facing a murder charge in North Carolina.

“There is an extremely strong likelihood that she could flee,” Sitler said.

Judge Sadler denied the motion for bond. Rovnak is being held at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver. He also granted a 60-day extension for the North Carolina governor’s office to send the necessary extradition paperwork to Mercer County. The next hearing for the case was set for Sept. 17.

Members of Melissa Rovnak’s family declined to speak with reporters after the hearing.

“They (North Carolina investigators) investigated it 10 years ago, did not charge her and let her leave,” Harmon said. “I did argue that she was born and raised here, her family is here and she had a job here. She didn’t have any desire to run. She denies the charges and doesn’t wish to run.”


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