A Denville, NJ accused of stabbing his ex-wife to death was convicted of first degree murder.
A Morris County Superior Court jury deliberated for only three hours before returning a guilty verdict. As a result, 66-year-old Anthony Novellino now faces a potential life sentence behind bars.
Novellino allegedly attacked his ex-wife with a large kitchen knife sometime after she returned to the family home to pack her things. Their divorce had been finalized just 11 days before the tragic incident.
Prosecutors argued Novellino violently murdered his wife by stabbing her 84 times and then continued to express his anger by placing a pig’s mask over her face.
Neighbors told police that Novellino had previously expressed dismay about how the ex-couple’s property would be divided because of the pending divorce.
During the course of the trial, Novellino’s defense attorney argued that his client should not be found guilty of first degree murder because he had acted in the heat of passion. However, when Novellino’s attorney was unable get the pig’s mask excluded as evidence at trial, it opened the door for the Morris County prosecutor to underscore the premeditated nature of the crime. The prosecutor also emphasized that Novellino had inexplicably brought a large kitchen knife into the bathroom before murdering his ex-wife.
When Novellino is sentenced on September 12, he will face a minimum of 30 years in New Jersey State Prison. Alternatively, the judge can sentence Novellino to life behind bars. That’s because N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3 classifies homicide as the most serious offense in the NJ criminal code.
To learn more about this case, read the NJ.com article entitled “Jury Finds N.J. Man Who Stabbed His Ex-Wife 84 Times Guilty of Murder.”