signs life away Weisenberg killer gets four life sentences
- The Morning
May 2, 1991
H. Flood signed his life away yesterday when he put his signature
admitting he killed his wife, two stepchildren and the boyfriend of one
of the children.
45, pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree murder and was
four consecutive life terms in state prison.
County Judge David E. Mellenberg repeatedly asked Flood if he understood
what he was doing and if he realized the chance of getting his sentence
commuted is "next to nothing."
heard all of that, is it still your intention to plead guilty of
your own free
will?" Mellenberg asked.
sir," Flood said quietly.
Flood was charged with the Jan. 6 shootings of his wife, Rosemary Flood,
42; Todd Novotasky, 18; Keri-Lyn Novotasky, 17; and Keri-Lyn's
boyfriend, Michael Fadden, 21,
Claussville Road, Weisenberg Township.
spared another stepchild, Stacey Novotasky, who turned 16
She is living with her father in Connecticut.
was apprehended Jan. 13 in Glastonbury, Conn., where the family had
lived before moving to the Lehigh Valley.
confessed to police and left numerous notes around the house explaining
how he killed the victims, where he left the murder weapons -- a .45-caliber
pistol and .22-caliber sawed-off rifle -- what he was
who should be notified among the survivors.
Attorney Robert Steinberg said the plea agreement for life sentences was
proposed by Flood's public defenders, William Wismer and Michael
Brunnabend. Steinberg said he talked about the plea with state
investigated the case, Fadden's mother and Ted Novotasky, the father of
the Novotasky children. All consented to the plea
mother, Lorraine Fadden of Connecticut, told Steinberg she was satisfied
with the plea as long as Flood would never get out of prison.
difficult, quite frankly, to turn down four consecutive life sentences,"
Steinberg said after the hearing. "It's going to be his own living
hell. Every day of his life he will live with the fact he killed
This quickly and appropriately brings this to a conclusion."
dressed in a light gray suit and white shirt, told Mellenberg he wanted
to spare remaining family members the pain and grief of a trial.
sorry it happened," he said. "I'd rather just go on with life
and let them go on with life."
said Flood spoke with a pastor who visited him in the county jail and
decided to plead guilty. "That changed his whole frame of mind
about everything, including his own life," Wismer said.
killing the victims, investigators said, Flood paid the rent on their
house and left notes about who should be contacted. He called his wife's
employer and said his wife wouldn't be at work.
Novotasky was at work at the Roy Rogers restaurant in
She called the house to get a ride home from work, andFlood picked her
up. He drove her to Connecticut, saying the family was
looking for a
house there and would be moving.
drove back to Pennsylvania and spent three days in the house with the
left an envelope in a neighbor's mailbox. Inside were two envelopes.
contained a note instructing the neighbor to call Ted Novotasky and to
tell him not to bring his daughter, Stacey, to the house. The other
envelope was addressed to state police.
note to state troopers told them to go to the house. "You will not
like what you
see," the note said.
went to the house and found two dead dogs in the unlocked garage. The
dogs had been killed with blows from a hammer. Rosemary Flood and Todd
Novotasky were found in upstairs bedrooms. Keri-Lyn
her boyfriend, Michael Fadden, were found in the basement where they
troopers were recounting what they found, Stacey Novotasky, who was
sitting in the spectators' section of the courtroom, began crying. She
and her father left the courtroom and didn't return.
the hearing, Mellenberg asked prosecutors about a motive. Trooper
Francis J. Karvan said Flood told police that he and his wife had an
argument the night before he shot her. Flood said his wife threatened to
the morning, he shot her in their bed. Flood went to the basement where
he shot Keri-Lyn. When Todd Novotasky returned home, he shot him.
last victim was Michael Fadden, who came home later.
one of the notes he left behind, Flood said he "wanted everyone to
go to hell together."
asked why Flood spared Stacey Novotasky. Karvan said Flood explained
that Stacey "never wanted anything and never gave anybody any
trouble. She was always good. Something in his head just told him not to
one note, Flood wrote, "The bills are too much. We are about to
told the judge that Flood's friends in Connecticut said he loved the
children very much and always wanted a better life for them. Flood's
life started to fall apart after he moved to Pennsylvania, according to
was like sweeping the ocean back with a broom," Wismer said, adding
Flood's problems came crashing down on him.
the hearing, Lorraine Fadden said she had no inkling that Flood was
capable of murder when her son moved to Pennsylvania with his girlfriend
and the rest of Flood's family. "They were always in the
hole, I knew
that," she said, adding Rosemary and David Flood often argued about
who was spending how much and who was paying the bills.
Rosemary and David visited friends in Connecticut at Christmas,
were all so happy together," according to Fadden. She said she saw
a videotape of the Floods that was taken by friends during the holiday.
was nothing to indicate that David would commit murder," she
plea bargain may be over, but for Fadden and Ted Novotasky, legal
battles continue. The two are trying to get access to the Weisenberg
house to get their children's belongings and things they had purchased.
said that after the shootings, the landlord changed the locks to
the house. Since then, she
and Ted Novotasky have been trying to arrange a date with the landlord
to retrieve their children's personal items.
have made a good five or six trips to Pennsylvania to no avail,"
landlord, she said, wants them to make a list of the items they want to
and Novotasky have hired a local lawyer to try to get the items and have
spoken with Steinberg about their plight.
said he had hoped the landlord and the victims' survivors could meet
yesterday to arrange to move items out of the house. But the landlord's
lawyer said the landlord, who lives in New York, was out of
town, according to
said she will return to Pennsylvania soon to get items in police custody
and hopes she then will be able to get into the house.