Teacher’s brutal stabbing death ruled as a suicide despite ‘deeply flawed’ investigation

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania – A Philadelphia teacher was found dead with 20 stab wounds in 2011. Recently, her death was ruled a suicide by an appellate court panel despite the panel criticizing the police investigation as “deeply flawed”. The deceased, Ellen Greenberg, 27, has had her family fighting for over a decade to overturn the city’s ruling on her death.

The Greenberg family, in their quest for justice, hired a team of experts who raised questions about the circumstances surrounding Ellen’s death. They pointed out that a knife in her apartment was overturned, suggesting a possible struggle. Additionally, a gash on the back of her head could have rendered her unconscious, making self-defense impossible. The family also questioned why Ellen filled her gas tank before returning home and left no suicide note.

The appellate panel, while upholding the suicide ruling, criticized the city police, prosecutors, the medical examiner’s office, and pathologists Marlon Osbourne and Sam Gulino for their handling of the investigation. The panel expressed sympathy for the parents’ relentless efforts over the past 12 years to uncover the truth about their daughter’s death.

Judge Ellen Ceisler, part of the panel, criticized Osbourne for his initial conclusion that Greenberg’s death was a homicide, which was made after the crime scene had been cleaned before police could arrive. The panel also noted the absence of records of officers interviewing the company that cleaned the crime scene, the building manager, or the police department representative who instructed the manager to hire a cleanup crew.

Joe Podraza, the family’s attorney, revealed that the building manager had filmed the crime scene before the cleanup and handed the footage to the police, but the video is now missing. Podraza also claimed that the evidence indicated that at least two of the 20 total stab wounds were inflicted postmortem. He criticized the appellate court’s ruling, calling it a failure to deliver justice for a murder victim.

Despite the controversy, a city spokesperson expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision while sympathizing with the Greenberg family. The family, however, plans to appeal the decision to the state’s Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing Greenberg’s death, and the family is pursuing a separate civil lawsuit alleging a cover-up over her death.