Police search for ex-husband of slain teacher

June 21, 2010 4:57:37 AM PDT
Police are searching for the ex-husband of a longtime teacher from Denville, New Jersey, found stabbed to death.

Night fell upon an uneasy Denville neighborhood Sunday after residents learned of a bad situation.

"Apparently it was an ugly divorce, the gentleman lived in the house," neighborhood resident Derek Fairclough said.

The house on Cliffside Trail was cordoned off after an unthinkable scene was discovered inside.

Investigators described the horrible murder of a beloved teacher, 62-year-old Judith Novellino.

"Over 80 stab wounds were inflicted during a struggle which was very cruel and violent in nature," Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi said.

Anthony Novellino, the victim's 63-year-old ex-husband, is now a person of interest to Denville police.

They are circulating a picture of his car, a dark convertible Miata.

"I think they should be hyper vigilant at this point," Bianchi said. "If they see anything suspicious or see anyone acting in a strange way, they should immediately contact the Denville police."

"I'm very shocked," neighbor Bill Chayka said. "I really feel bad."

As police gathered evidence from the scene, longtime residents like Chayka are stunned by the tragedy.

He recalled seeing Anthony's car parked outside quite often.

"I didn't know there was any friction or problems between them," Chayka said. "They seemed like they had a marriage where he went his way and she went her way."

At Morris Catholic High School, Judith Novellino used to be an English teacher, but most recently taught French and worked as the school librarian.

"She was a wonderful person, always used to see her every morning, sitting out in front of the school, waiting for the kids to come in, the kind of person you would go to and talk about anything," said Kelly Stevens, a student's mother.