Parents sue officials over ruling that their daughter's death by more than 20 stab wounds was a suicide




 
A police van outside Ellen Greenberg
A police van outside Ellen Greenberg's apartment block. CBS Philly  
  • The parents of a woman who died with more then 20 stab wounds are challenging a ruling of suicide.

  • They say they have new evidence that she could not have stabbed herself.

  • Police said Ellen Greenberg was alone in her locked home, with no evidence of a struggle.

The parents of a woman found dead with more than 20 stab wounds are suing the medical examiner's office over its declaration that she died by suicide, according to multiple reports.

More than 10 years since Ellen Greenberg's boyfriend found her dead in her Philadelphia apartment, her parents have won the right to take the ruling to a trial, CBS Philly reported.

It is a first step towards potentially securing the homicide ruling her parents have long sought, according to the outlet.

Greenberg, a 27-year-old elementary school teacher, came home early from work due to a snowstorm on January 26 2011, The Washington Post reported.

At around 5.30 p.m., her boyfriend Sam Goldberg came home to find himself locked out. Eventually he broke down the door to find Greenberg's body with a knife still in her chest, the police report noted.

The report goes on to say she was alone in the sixth-floor apartment, and that the door had been blocked by a swing bar from the inside. The knife matched the set in her knife block, which was tipped over, the report said.

The only access points were the front door and a balcony, police said. Officers say the snow outside was undisturbed.

A lack of defensive wounds, and no signs of a robbery, all led police to suspect a suicide, the report said.

Medical examiner Marlon Osbourne declared the death a homicide, but police continued investigating, according to the Post.

Weeks later, after it emerged that Greenberg had been prescribed anxiety and sleep medication - the side effects of which can include suicidal thoughts - Osbourne changed the death certificate to call it a suicide, the Post reported.

Greenberg's parents, Josh and Sandra Greenberg, have long questioned that finding. Almost 50,000 people have signed a petition calling for Josh Shapiro, the Pennsylvania Attorney General, to reopen the case.

Her parents said she had never mentioned suicidal thoughts and no problems with Goldberg, The Washington Post reported. According to the police report, she left no note.

Other details, they told the Post, raised questions - she had filled her car with gas before returning home, and had been preparing a fruit salad before she died.

The fact that the knife block was tipped over suggested a struggle, the Post described their attorney, Joseph Podraza, saying.

In early 2021, the Greenbergs shared new forensic evidence of the positions of the stab wounds with CBS Philly, which they say proves she could not have stabbed herself.

A gash on the back of her head could be from a wound that rendered her unconscious and unable to defend herself, the lawsuit suggested, per the Post.

Representatives of the city of Philadelphia argued that the courts have no authority to overturn the medical examiner's decision.

In any case, a determination of suicide would not prevent police investigating a homicide, the Post reported.

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