Catholic School Teacher Murdered; Ex-Husband Sought in N.J. Murder in Home Where Both Still Lived

Anthony Novellino and Judith Novellino
CBS/WCBS/Morris County Prosecutor's Office
Anthony Novellino and Judith Novellino (CBS/WCBS/Morris County Prosecutor's Office)

DENVILLE, N.J. (CBS/AP) Morris County authorities are looking for the recently divorced ex-husband of a high school  teacher whose battered body was found in the Denville, N.J. home where they both still lived.

County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi described 63-year-old Anthony Novellino as a "person of interest" in the death of 62-year-old Judith Novellino, who was stabbed more than 80 times. He also said that anyone who had recently dealt with Anthony Novellino should contact authorities.

Bianchi said Novellino was last seen driving a black 1992 Mazda Miata with a tan convertible roof. He said anyone who locates Novellino should not approach him, but rather immediately report it to law enforcement officials.

A family member found Judith Novellino's body around 7 p.m. Saturday and called 911. Bianchi said it appears that the woman, an English teacher at Morris Catholic High School, and her killer, were involved in "a violent struggle." But he declined to provide further details, including what type of weapon was used to kill Novellino or where on her body she was stabbed.

"You could definitely tell there was a struggle," Bianchi said of the home's interior where Novellino was found. "People were fighting during the attack."

Bianchi would not comment on a possible motive, but did say the slaying apparently was not "a random murder." He said it's believed Novellino was killed sometime Saturday afternoon. An autopsy performed Sunday morning by the county Medical Examiner's Office determined that Novellino died from blunt force trauma, Bianchi said, adding that the death has been ruled a homicide.

Morris Catholic High School President Michael St. Pierre told the Daily Record of Parsippany that Novellino - who had worked at the school in Denville for more than 25 years and also taught French there - was "a trusted teacher and a dedicated professional who loved the school and loved our students."