SOUTHINGTON - A 60-year-old man confessed to a 911 dispatch operator that he killed his estranged wife at about 1 p.m. Tuesday, and Trumbull County sheriff's deputies said they expect the man to be charged with murder today.
Royce C. Honaker was arrested about 2 p.m. Tuesday by deputies and booked into the Trumbull County Jail on suspicion of murder. He likely will be arraigned today in Newton Falls Municipal Court.
Honaker is accused of fatally shooting Donna Honaker, whom he filed for divorce against April 20.
Royce C. Honaker sits in the back of a sheriff’s cruiser. Investigators said he confessed to killing his wife. Special to Tribune Chronicle / 33 News
It was the eighth homicide in Trumbull County in July.
The home sits about a quarter mile back from the road and is surrounded by a wooded area. A for-sale sign sat near the end of the driveway in front of the woods.
Royce Honaker called 911 operators after the shooting. Honaker breathed heavily for about seven seconds before he said, "I just killed my wife." The operator asked for the address. Honaker responded, then the call was abruptly disconnected.
Caller: (Heavy breathing)
Dispatcher: Are you having a hard time breathing, sir?
Caller: I just killed my wife
Dispatcher: You just killed your wife?
Dispatcher: OK sir, what's the address?
Caller: 4480 County Line-Turnpike Road
Dispatcher: What happened?
(Call is disconnected)
After he was taken to the Sheriff's Office for questioning, he asked for a lawyer, Sheriff's Maj. Thomas Stewart said.
Honaker has no criminal history in Trumbull County Court or Newton Falls Municipal Court, according to a records search.
Sheriff's deputies and the Trumbull County Homicide Task Force are investigating the case. Trumbull County Sheriff Thomas Altiere went to the home before leaving about 1:45 p.m. A coroner's investigator also was called to the house, and the Southington Fire Department removed the body from the scene.
Royce Honaker filed for divorce against Donna Honaker April 20, court records show. He cited extreme cruelty, gross neglect of duty and incompatibility as the reasons for divorce. A hearing in that case was set for Sept. 12.
A mutual restraining order was granted by Family Court Judge Richard James after the divorce filing.
The Honakers' neighbor, Myra Hrudka, said they talked with the couple sometimes. She said both previously worked for Ford at the Walton Hills plant and had stopped working there after the company announced they were closing the factory in 2014.
She said they recently completed building a new barn in the back of their property and put the home up for sale this month.
"We don't worry about a lot of things like this," Hrudka said. "We don't get a lot of stuff like this out here."