Accused in Carrsville slaying to argue insanity

Published 8:55 am Tuesday, February 6, 2024

An expected insanity defense has delayed the trial of a Suffolk man accused of killing a Carrsville resident.

Mark Honaker, 74, was arrested and charged last year with fatally shooting 54-year-old Stephen Williams March. An Isle of Wight County sheriff’s deputy responding to a reported cardiac arrest had found March in his Carrsville home, deceased, on April 21, 2023, and had initially attributed his death to natural causes. According to the criminal complaint against Honaker, it wasn’t until three days later when March’s body was at a funeral home that investigators noticed a gunshot wound under his chin. An April 25 autopsy revealed a second gunshot wound.

A three-day jury trial had been scheduled for Jan. 22-24, which has been postponed indefinitely due to the notice of Honaker’s insanity defense  Isle of Wight Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Edwards recently received.

According to court records, Honaker is to undergo a mental examination on April 10. Honaker is represented by Suffolk attorney Moody “Sonny” Stallings Jr.

The criminal complaint alleges March’s mother, Mary March, told investigators she’d last talked to her son around 8 p.m. the day before his death, and that he’d told her he’d planned to visit her the next morning. When Stephen didn’t show or call, his mother went to his house and noticed a key in the door, later determined to be a spare Stephen had kept in his home’s mudroom.

The trail then took investigators to the ABC store where Stephen had worked in the nearby city of Franklin. There, a manager allegedly told deputies that Honaker had been asking questions about Stephen since mid-2022 under the belief that Stephen had been sleeping with Honaker’s wife, Tommi Jan, who denied knowing Stephen or having ever been to his house but confirmed to investigators that Mark had suspected an affair.

According to the complaint, deputies obtained from a camera located roughly 2 miles from Stephen’s house an image of a Lexus allegedly belonging to Honaker entering Isle of Wight County on Carrsville Highway at 10:35 p.m. on April 20. The complaint alleges Honaker initially claimed to know Stephen only in passing, but later admitted to knowing where Stephen lived and his suspicion’s of the alleged affair.

A search of Honaker’s Suffolk residence produced several .22-caliber firearms and the same brand of ammunition as a shell casing that investigators had found three days after the fact in Stephen’s bedroom. The search also turned up a journal entry allegedly written by Honaker stating he “knows who the other man is” and has “thought about killing him several times.”

Honaker faces a first-degree murder charge as well as charges of breaking and entering with the intent to commit murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

If convicted on all three charges, Honaker faces a sentence of 28 years to life in prison.

Stephen’s brother, Brian March, has filed a separate wrongful death lawsuit against Honaker and his wife, which alleges Honaker “actively tracked” Stephen’s whereabouts for several months and that Tommi Jan “was negligent in failing to intervene.”