The contentious decision that Philadelphia teacher Ellen Greenberg, who was discovered dead in her apartment in 2011 with 20 stab wounds, had committed suicide, has been affirmed by an appellate court panel. In contrast, the police investigation into the case was harshly chastised by the court, which described it as “deeply flawed,” according to publicly available court documents.
Ellen Greenberg, who was 27 years old when she passed away, was the focus of a ten-year legal dispute between her family and the city, who had determined that she had killed herself despite having many stab wounds to her body, including ten to the back of her head and neck.
After she passed away, a group of specialists recruited by Greenberg’s family brought to light a number of discrepancies and raised concerns about the circumstances surrounding her death. They pointed out a gash on the back of her skull that might have knocked her out, ruling out self-defense, and noticed that a knife in her apartment had been knocked over, indicating a potential battle.
Greenberg had filled up the gas tank in her car before heading home, and she left no note suggesting that she intended to commit suicide, which was one of the case’s most perplexing elements.
The appeal panel determined that Joshua and Sandra Greenberg, the parents of Greenberg, did not have the necessary standing to file a civil lawsuit. They did, however, sharply denounce the city’s law enforcement for several mistakes and improper handling of the inquiry, citing the police, prosecutors, medical examiner’s office, and pathologists Marlon Osbourne and Sam Gulino as examples.
When Judge Ellen Ceisler wrote, “The facts surrounding this matter are extremely disturbing, and the parents’ tireless efforts over the past 12 years to learn exactly what happened to their daughter on the evening of January 26, 2011, warrant our sincere sympathy,” she was expressing her sympathy.
Dr. Marlon Osbourne was particularly chastised by the judges for his first determination that Greenberg’s death was a homicide. Before authorities could properly investigate the crime scene, they had to clean everything up, which led to the conclusion that was reached. Neither the building manager nor the police department representative who approved the employment of the cleanup crew, nor the firm in charge of cleaning the crime scene, had ever been questioned by the officers, according to any documentation.
The Greenberg family’s attorney, Joe Podraza, contended that the evidence indicated that at least two of the twenty stab wounds were caused after Greenberg’s heart had stopped beating.
Podraza bemoaned the appellate court’s decision, calling it a betrayal of a murder victim’s right to justice. He expressed disapproval of the ruling since it practically cleared the criminals while highlighting how powerless people are in such circumstances.
While expressing condolences for Greenberg’s family, the city spokeswoman applauded the court’s ruling. Greenberg’s parents nevertheless intend to file an appeal with the state Supreme Court against the decision.
The Chester County District Attorney’s Office is also investigating Greenberg’s death, and her family is suing in a different civil suit, claiming there was a cover-up surrounding her demise. The case still begs important issues concerning the preliminary inquiry and the circumstances of Ellen Greenberg’s untimely death.