The Murder of Shannon Graves

Shannon Graves

In 2016, Arturo Novoa killed, Shannon Graves, with a hammer. He and his new girlfriend dismembered and dissolved her body.

Arturo Novoa

Background

Arturo Novoa and Shannon Graves met in April 2016. Their relationship turned romantic, and they moved into a home on Mahoning Avenue, Youngstown, Ohio. Novoa was abusive towards Shannon and their relationship ended in December 2916. Novoa then moved out of the apartment he shared with Shannon and moved in with Katrina Layton. A week later, Novoa would move back to Shannon’s.

The Murder

On February 24, 2017, things turned violent between the couple. Novoa beat Shannon to death with a hammer in their bedroom.

Novoa called Layton for help in getting rid of the evidence. Novoa first shaved Shannon’s head. Then the pair wrapped her body in several garbage bags, placed her remains in his car’s trunk, and drove to Layton’s house.

Getting Rid of Evidence

A friend of Novoa, Andrew Herrmann, agreed to help dismember Shannon’s body in the garage. They removed her arms, legs, and head, and put the body parts in storage bins. Sometime between March 1 and March 17, 2017, Shannon’s remains were brought back to the apartment she shared with Novoa and placed in a freezer.

Andrew Herrmann

On March 1, 2017, Novoa asked a friend who lived on Sherwood Avenue if he could have a bonfire at his house, which the friend agreed to. Novoa and Layton brought Shannon’s belongings, including her hair, to place in the fire. The following day, the Sherwood Avenue residents went through the fire pit; they found it odd that Novoa and Layton were placing things from a tote bag into the fire. They found a bracelet that said the name “Shannon” on it. They dug the rest of the ashes out of the pit.

Novoa and Layton then ordered an “in-store pickup” of 12 gallons of sulfuric acid through Walmart. When placing the order, they used the alias “Chicken Man”. The Walmart employee would not release the purchase until she saw identification. Layton showed her ID and used her own credit card to pay for the sulfuric acid. They drove back to the Mahoning Avenue address, where Shannon’s body was.

Novoa and Layton poured the sulfuric acid into the container they held Shannon’s torso and head. All of Shannon’s torso and had dissolved expect for a portion of her skull. They put the piece of skull, along with her arms and legs, into the freezer.

Katrina Layton

For the next few months, Layton would live in the apartment Novoa shared with Shannon. She cared for her dog, used her phone and her credit cards.

Missing Peron’s Report

On June 22, 2017, Shannon’s half-sister, Debbie DePaul, reported Shannon missing to the Youngstown Police Department. Debbie stated it was not unusual to go long periods without speaking, but when Shannon missed her birthday and Easter, she became worried. Debbie and Shannon’s ex-fiancé searched for Shannon. Once Novoa found out that police and family were looking for Shannon, he rented out a new apartment on Ravenwood Avenue and bought a new freezer. He used Shannon’s car to move her remains to the freezer in the apartment on Ravenwood Avenue. He left the apartment empty, with only the freezer, the warranty booklet for the freezer, and a black suitcase.

The police had got a search warrant for the apartment on Mahoning Avenue, where Shannon had lived. This made Novoa nervous. He called a friend and asked if he could store his freezer of meat at his house, because the power went out in his apartment. His friend agreed. Novoa and two friends helped him move the freezer one night around 3:00 a.m.

Remains Found

The wife of the friend who was storing the “freezer of meat” decided to take a piece of meat out for dinner. The court documents state there was a lock on the freezer, but it was installed upside down, which made it open easily. Inside, she found a black bag and called her husband. He came home and opened the bag to find Shannon’s remains. They contacted authorities.

House where freezer with reamins was found

Investigation

In the home Shannon shared with Novoa, police found a meat cleaver, blood on the walls, and an owner’s manual to the freezer Shannon was found in.

In the freezer, Shannon’s arms and legs were found along with pieces of spine, skull, and some teeth.

During the investigation, it would be revealed that Herrmann’s girlfriend, Michelle Ihlenfeld, lied to the grand jury and tried to scare a witness who was providing the police with information. She was arrested for her involvement.

Court Proceedings

Arturo Novoa

On September 17, 2017, Novoa was arrested and charged with 1 count of aggravated murder, 1 count of murder, 24 counts of tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice and 6 counts of abuse of a corpse, 3 counts of possession of criminal tools, 3 counts theft of WIC benefits, 1 count of grand theft auto, 4 counts of drug trafficking (marijuana). On August 30, 2017, Novoa was indicted on all charges.

Novoa accepted a plea. In exchange for dismissing the aggravated murder charge, he would plead guilty to all other charges.

On June 24, 2019, he was sentenced to a total of 48 years to life in prison.

Novoa filed an appeal on September 30, 2021, stating his guilty plea should be considered invalid because he was not informed a judge could rule the sentences for each count be served consecutively. He also made the argument that the counts were not merged properly, which resulted in more convictions between them, was legally possible.

On October 1, 2021, the supreme court agreed in part with Novoa. They upheld his guilty plea, but they found the trial court had made an error upon sentencing, stating some of the counts were not merged properly. Novoa’s sentence was vacated and sent back to the state court for re-sentencing.

In February 2022, he was re-sentenced to 43 years to life.

Katrina Layton

Katrina Layton was charged with tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, and abuse of a corpse. She originally made a deal with the prosecution for no jail time and probation. New prosecutors that took over the case were able to show that Layton was still communicating with Novoa while he was in prison and had her deal revoked. She was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Andrew Herrmann

Andrew Herrmann was charged with abuse of a corpse, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, and drug trafficking. He was sentenced to 12 years.

Michelle Ihlenfeld

Michelle Ihlenfeld was charged with lying to a grand jury and intimidating a witness. She received 2.5 years in prison. Upon release, she will have to spend 6 months in a halfway house and 5 years of probation.

4 Comments

  • Cindy

    Layton was not at the bonfire. She was at work. Michelle Ehlenfeld,Arturo and Andrew were at the bonfire. She threatened ppl at the bonfire. Andrew & Arturo dismembered the body.. Ehlenfeld was too be bookkeeper for all the drug activity between Arturo & Andrew. Layton helped dispose of the body. Arturo’s next kill would of been Katrina. He’s a fn monster. He was horrible to woman and children

    • Trina Littlefield

      Omg so “Cindy” didn’t bother reading the facts of before commenting.

      According to court documents:

      A. Layton was at the bonfire

      “{¶4} On March 1, 2017, Appellant contacted a friend who resided on Sherwood
      Avenue in Youngstown and asked if he could have a bonfire at his friend’s house. Appellant and Layton brought Graves’ personal belongings, including clothing, papers, her hair, and a bracelet with the name “Shannon” on it, and burned them in a large bonfire at the Sherwood location. At one point, the fire became so large that the fire department arrived to investigate.”

      B. Shannon’s sister did file the report.

      “{¶8} On June 22, 2017, Graves’ sister, Debbie DePaul, filed a missing person
      report with the Youngstown Police Department. DePaul and Graves’ former fiancé began to look for Graves.”

      C. Arturo did bring the freezer to the friend’s house.

      {¶9} Around this time the Youngstown Police Department executed a search
      warrant at the Mahoning Avenue home. Again becoming nervous about being detected, Appellant contacted a friend and told him that Appellant’s electricity was out in his home and that he needed a place to store his freezer full of meat. His friend agreed to store Appellant’s freezer at his house on Devitt Avenue in Campbell, Ohio. Appellant and two of his friends took the freezer from the Ravenwood apartment to his friend’s house at approximately 3:00 a.m. the next morning.

      D. Katrina used Shannon’s car, her wic card, and moved herself and her 2 kids into Shannon’s apartment while her dead body was in a freezer.

      {¶6} In the intervening months, Graves’ family continued to inquire of Appellant
      about Graves’ whereabouts. Appellant, Layton and Layton’s two children moved into the Mahoning Avenue home and began driving Graves’ car. They also used Graves’ WIC card several times.

      E.Katrina ordered acid from Walmart to destroy Shannon’s body parts

      {¶5} Appellant and Layton ordered 12 gallons of sulfuric acid from Wal-Mart
      using the name “Chicken Man”. The sulfuric acid was shipped to the Wal-Mart store in Boardman, Ohio and picked up by Appellant and Layton on March 11, 2017. Because the order was placed under the name “Chicken Man” instead of a named person, the WalMart employee refused to tender the acid without identification. Layton showed her identification and used her credit card to pay for the acid. Appellant and Layton took the acid back to the Mahoning Avenue home where they poured all 12 gallons into the bin containing Graves’ head and torso. Most of her torso and skull dissolved in the acid.

  • Cindy

    Arturo & Katrina had a9 yr relationship. She wasn’t the”new” gf. Katrina didn’t use Shannon’s cards, she had her own. Arturo used Shannon’s cards. Shannon’s sister , after all this time, not hearing from her sister didn’t file a missing person report. Shannon’s ex John did. Arturo was abusive with both Katrina and Shannon. Katrina had her own dog that lived at the apt with the dog Molly. Arturo used Shannon’s credit cards. Also the freezer was moved by another woman who had no idea what the contents of the freezer were. Katrina was, once again ,at work,but was on the phone with Arturo. Let’s not forget that Arturo is the murderer. He got these other 3 ppl involved cause he thinks he’s a juggernaut of the Wicans

    • Ashley mylar

      No no no no no. Katrina did those things. And she also did way way more than was made public. She is a monster if not worse than her idiot bf

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