A Boston man pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he stabbed his former wife to death in her Stoughton home over the weekend, a crime that took place more than two years after the woman sought a divorce from him on the grounds of cruel treatment, authorities said.
The body of 46-year-old Anita Clark was found Saturday in a closet in her Glen Echo Boulevard home, and the state medical examiner’s office concluded that she was killed by multiple stab wounds, said Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey’s office.
Authorities quickly identified her former husband, 47-year-old Willie Foster Jr., as Clark’s alleged attacker and obtained an arrest warrant for him on Sunday.
On Monday, Foster was arrested at gunpoint by Boston police officers as he sat in his car parked behind the Mattapan Community Health Center in Mattapan Square.
With a large delegation of Clark’s family and friends looking on, Foster appeared in Stoughton District Court Monday, where he pleaded not guilty to murder charges and was ordered held without bail by District Court Judge Richard D. Savignano, according to Morrissey’s office.
Foster’s defense attorney, George Murphy, did not make a bail argument.
Foster is due back in court June 7.
According to records on file at Norfolk Probate and Family court, Clark filed for divorce in 2011, citing what she described as “cruel and verbal abuse treatment; desertion.”
According to the records, Clark and Foster, who married in 2006, tried to save their marriage. The couple entered into marriage counseling and agreed to put the divorce proceedings on hold until August 2011, records show.
But the efforts at reconciliation failed, the records show, and they were formally divorced on Aug. 22, 2011, in a one-page order.
Clark was given sole legal and sole physical custody of the couple’s two children, who are now 6 and 13. The mother was given authority to decide when and how often Foster could visit the children.
Foster was also ordered to pay $50 a week in child support, records show.
There is no record that Clark sought a restraining order through the probate court against her former husband.
In a telephone interview Monday, Boston police Captain Steven McLaughlin said he was driving through Mattapan Square shortly after 7 a.m. Monday when a dispatcher announced that the car that Stoughton police believed Foster was driving had been spotted parked behind the Mattapan Community Health Center.
McLaughlin said he drove his unmarked police vehicle into the lot, confirmed that the car was there, spotted Foster sitting inside it, then alerted the dispatcher to his discovery.
He circled the driveway in his car, waiting for officers from Area B-3 to arrive, while hoping that Foster did not spot him and drive away. “I knew he was wanted for murder,’’ McLaughlin said. “I wasn’t going to take him on myself.’’
Within seconds, at least two marked cruisers from the Area B-3 station joined McLaughlin in the parking lot, plugging up the exits with their vehicles. Then McLaughlin and the uniformed officers jumped out of their cruisers, guns drawn, and took Foster into custody.
“They did a great job,’’ said McLaughlin, who credited officers from Area B-3 with taking Foster into custody. “Nice and smooth. No major incidents.’’