PLAINFIELD, N.J. — A man who authorities say fatally stabbed his ex-wife at the home they shared in New Jersey has pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges.

Eric Beale entered his pleas Tuesday during a court hearing in Elizabeth.

Union County prosecutors say Beale killed his 56-year-old wife, Marlene Martin. Her body was found around 11:30 p.m. Sunday in the backyard of their Plainfield home after someone asked police to check on her welfare.

Martin was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities say the 56-year-old Beale was quickly identified as a suspect in the slaying and was arrested without incident a short time later.

Beale could face a life sentence if he’s convicted.

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