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MORRISTOWN, N.J. -- A man was convicted Wednesday of fatally stabbing his ex-wife 84 times and covering her face with a pig mask.
A Morris County jury deliberated for about three hours over two days before reaching its verdict. They found 66-year-old Anthony Novellino guilty of murder, hindering apprehension, tampering with evidence and two weapons offenses. He faces at least 30 years in prison when he's sentenced Sept. 12.
During the two-week trial, prosecutors said Novellino attacked his ex-wife, Judith, at their Denville home in June 2010. They had recently finalized their divorce, and Judith was packing items to take to her apartment when she was stabbed.
Judith Novellino was a high school English teacher. Their adult daughter found her body when she arrived at the home to help her mother move her belongings to an apartment she had rented in Parsippany.
Anthony Novellino was captured several days later in Washington state, where he met a woman he had been communicating with online.
His attorney, Michael Priarone, had argued that the slaying was a case of "passion/provocation manslaughter," which carries a lesser sentence. He claimed Novellino acted in the heat of passion and said the attack was out of character for his client.
In a nine-hour recorded interview with investigators, Novellino admitted "hitting" his ex-wife with the knife. He said that he had only done it twice and that he had acted in self-defense after she cut him, but prosecutors said those claims were not credible.
Priarone had also sought unsuccessfully to bar the use of the pig mask as evidence, arguing it would be "highly prejudicial."