NJ Teacher Found Dead With Over 80 Stab Wounds
New Jersey - Was it a crime of passion or a cold-blooded murder?
New Jersey police are on a manhunt Sunday night for the killer in the brutal death of a 62-year-old school teacher.
Police are searching for the murdered school teacher's ex-husband, who vanished after the body was found stabbed more than 80 times.
"Regular people, regular people, nice," neighbor Paul Morrow said. "The husband was a friendly, nice guy. I don't know, I'm in total shock."
Neighbors watched as investigators swarmed the Cliffside Trail home where high school English teacher Judith Novellino was murdered.
The 62-year-old educator was stabbed so many times the scene rattled even the most experienced investigators.
A family member found Judith Novellino's body around 7 p.m. Saturday and called 911. Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi said it appears that Novellino, an English teacher at Morris Catholic High School, and her killer were involved in "a violent struggle."
Police are now searching for the victim's ex-husband, 63-year-old Anthony Novellino. Police call him a "person of interest," needed for questioning about the Saturday afternoon murder. Members of the public are urged to call Denville Police if they see him or his car, a black 1992 Mazda Miata with a tan convertible top.
On Sunday, Bianchi released the following statement: "The results of the autopsy which was conducted this morning by Morris County Medical Examiner Doctor Ronald Suarez indicate that the victim died from blunt force trauma and that the manner of death is homicide. Over 80 stab wounds were inflicted during what can only be described as a very brutal and violent encounter."
Those who knew Judith Novellino at Morris Catholic High School said they saw no evidence of a troubled home life. They say she was dedicated and friendly, having taught English and French there for close to three decades.
The president of Morris Catholic, Michael St. Pierre, issued the following statement: "She was a trusted teacher, and a dedicated professional, who loved the school and loved our students."
"My wife and I are both educators, so besides the neighborhood being shocked, I'm sure the kids at the school, the staff and the parents are going to be in a lot of a situation of being concerned about the teacher and upset," Denville resident Ted Loeffler said.