WARREN - The Southington man who investigators said fatally shot his wife and then confessed to a 911 dispatcher was indicted Thursday by a Trumbull County grand jury.
Royce C. Honaker, 60, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday in front of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Peter Kontos on murder charges with a three-year sentence enhancement for using a gun.
Honaker faces 18 years to life on the charges. He is being held in the Trumbull County Jail on $1 million bond and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing in front of Judge Andrew Logan Tuesday.
County Coroner Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk ruled the death a homicide, the eighth in Trumbull County since July 5. Germaniuk said he and investigators are still looking into how Donna Honaker, 58, died.
Sheriff's deputies said Royce Honaker shot his wife about 1 p.m. Tuesday at his 4480 County Line-Turnpike Road home.
He called 911 and breathed heavily into the phone for about seven seconds before he told dispatchers he had just killed his wife. He told the dispatcher his address then hung up when she asked what happened.
Investigators said he told sheriff's deputies he shot his wife but then refused to talk without a lawyer after he was taken into custody.
Family members of both Royce and Donna Honaker said Royce Honaker suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, and his condition had worsened in the last six months.
Royce Honaker filed for divorce in April because he believed, among other things, his wife was poisoning his food, according to reports. Family said she moved out of the house but returned frequently to care for him and make sure he was safe.
They were married for 40 years, had four children and multiple grandchildren.
Royce Honaker installed security cameras and motion sensor lights throughout their property and boarded up windows because he believed people were watching him, family said. He also believed people were following him as he drove.
Donna Honaker, family said, took her husband to Trumbull Memorial Hospital's psychiatric care center to be evaluated, but he checked himself out three days later against doctor's pleadings.