Southington man, 60, pleads innocent in killing of wife

By Ed Runyan


Royce Honaker periodically cried as he talked to his lawyer and again as he stood before a judge Thursday on a murder charge.

Honaker, 60, of Southington, was indicted early Thursday in the Tuesday killing of his wife of 41 years, Donna Honaker, 58.

Public defender David Rouzzo entered an innocent plea to the charge, which carries a possible penalty of 15 years to life in prison if convicted.

Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Peter Kontos set bond at $1 million in the short hearing — the first since Honaker was arrested at his home on Countyline Turnpike Road a couple miles south of West Farmington on Tuesday.

Donna Honaker was found dead of a gunshot wound inside the 3,000-square foot house in the woods.

Police said Honaker called 911 about 1 p.m. Tuesday, saying he had killed his wife. He was standing near his garage door when the first deputy sheriff arrived and 0repeated the statement to him about killing his wife.

Honaker then said he was a “bookie for Ford Motor Co. and that his house and woods were under surveillance and the neighbor and his wife were in on it,” the deputy said.

Honaker, who family members have told police had been having mental-health issues, filed for divorce from his wife in April, according to court records.

A neighbor said both Honakers worked at the Walton Hills Ford stamping plant until recent years. The divorce filing identified both of them as retired. Royce Honaker had no previous criminal record.

In addition to the murder charge, Royce Honaker is charged with committing the crime with a firearm, which could add three years to his sentence if convicted.

Chris Becker, an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, said the work of the Trumbull County Homicide Task Force enabled prosecutors to directly present the murder charge to a Trumbull County grand jury so quickly.

Normally a defendant is arraigned in a lower court before the case is referred to a grand jury for possible indictment. Several Honaker family members attended the hearing, but they declined to comment.

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