Former deputy faces new charges in wife’s slaying
A Placer County judge is set to rule soon on whether Paul Kovacich Jr., a former Placer County deputy accused of murdering his wife, is expected to also be charged with kidnapping and using a gun to kill her.
The Placer County grand jury indicted Kovacich in September 2006 for the 1982 murder of Janet Kovacich, the mother of their children, then ages 8 and 5.
The grand jury also issued an amended indictment in March 2007, alleging the special circumstance of kidnapping and the enhancement of using a firearm to commit the murder.
A kidnapping special circumstance and firearm enhancement would compound Kovacich’s penalties should he be found guilty.
This amended indictment is based on the discovery of a skull fragment, found in Rollins Lake in 1995 and determined by DNA testing to be Janet Kovacich’s.
The skull had a distinctive hole in it. A forensic expert testified in front of the grand jury the hole was “a classic gunshot wound,” while the defense said another expert who did not testify could not be certain a bullet created the hole.
In Placer County Superior Court Thursday, Kovacich’s attorney, Clyde Blackmon of Sacramento, argued the defendant did not kidnap his wife on Sept. 8, 1982, because she willingly got into his car. Kidnapping was possibly also “incidental and was not used to facilitate” a murder, he said.
Janet Kovacich had asked for ride from her husband to Forest Lake Christian School that morning, where she planned to enroll her children after removing them from St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Placer County.
This move was part of the process of leaving her husband, whom she had planned to divorce, according to court records seen by The Union.
She could not drive herself because she was recovering from breast augmentation surgery.
She had also had scars on her shoulder and face removed, records reveal, in an attempt to boost her confidence in anticipation of the split.
Blackmon said that if Kovacich had murdered his wife, which he contends did not happen, Kovacich still had no intention of doing it when his wife got into his car.
“If Janet was taken from her home under the pretext he was going to take her to the school, that is not kidnapping,” he said.
Placer County Deputy District Attorney Dan Gong argued Janet Kovacich did not go with her husband willingly to Rollins Lake.
“She had no intention of going to Rollins Lake,” Gong said. “She had an 11:10 appointment (at Forest Lake Christian),” he said, adding that for Kovacich to continue driving to a place his wife did not want to go was enough use of force or fear, which would constitute kidnapping.
And, he added, Kovacich had previously caused his wife to be afraid of him. A week before, he had kicked the family dog, Fuzz, to death. He later admitted it to investigators, saying he was training the animal.
Placer County Superior Court Judge Robert McElhany is set to rule on the defense’s motion to dismiss portions of the amended indictment at 1 p.m. June 21 in Placer County Superior Court, Dep. 13.
To contact Staff writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4236.
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