As relatives of murdered woman look on, Boston man pleads not guilty to charges he killed his ex-wife in her Stoughton home

Anita Clark, the Stoughton woman allegedly murdered by her ex-husband this weekend, had filed for divorce from Willie Foster Jr. in 2011, citing what she described as “cruel” treatment by Foster, according to court records.

At the time of the divorce filing, Clark and Foster and their two children were living on Canton Street in Stoughton, according to records filed in Norfolk Probate and Family Court.

Clark’s body was found Saturday inside a closet in a bedroom of her home on Glen Echo Boulevard in Stoughton, and Foster was quickly identified by Stoughton police and State Police as the alleged killer, officials said.

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Foster was arrested in Mattapan Square this morning by Boston police.

With a large delegation of Clark’s family looking on, Foster appeared in Stoughton District Court today where he pleaded not guilty to murder charges and was ordered held without bail by District Court Judge Richard D.Savignano, according to Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey’s office.

Foster’s defense attorney, George Murphy, did not make a bail argument.

Foster is due back in court June 7.

The probate court documents say Clark sought a divorce on grounds of “cruel and verbal abuse treatment; desertion.”

According to the records, Clark and Foster, who had gotten 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 ultimately 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 years old. 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 ex-husband.

When her body was found, Clark had obvious signs of having been stabbed by an assailant, and the state medical examiner’s office has concluded she was killed by multiple stab wounds, according to David Traub, a spokesman for Morrissey.

When police searched Clark’s home on Glen Echo Boulevard on Saturday, they found evidence of a struggle in her bedroom. Clark’s body was discovered in a bedroom closet, partially hidden underneath a number of household items, Morrissey said this weekend.

In a telephone interview today, Boston Police Captain Steven McLaughlin said he was driving through Mattapan Square shortly after 7 a.m. today when a dispatcher announced that the car Stoughton police believed Foster was driving had been spotted parked behind the Mattapan Community Health Center in the square.

McLaughlin said he drove his unmarked police vehicle into the lot, confirmed that the car was there – and spotted Foster sitting inside it – and 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 ultimately taking Foster into custody. “Nice and smooth. No major incidents.’’

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