The parents of a teacher whose stabbing death was ruled a homicide and then reversed to suicide — with no explanation — filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday against the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office and the pathologist who conducted the autopsy to have the ruling changed to undetermined or back to homicide.
The story of Ellen Greenberg’s death, which has perplexed forensic experts, was first detailed in a March 15 report in The Inquirer.
RELATED STORIES A Philly teacher died of 20 stab wounds 8 years ago. It’s still a mystery how she got them. Greenberg, 27, a teacher at Juniata Park Academy, was discovered by her fiance in the kitchen of their Manayunk apartment with 20 stab wounds to her body and a 10-inch knife lodged in her chest on Jan. 26, 2011. The suit contends the original homicide ruling was correct and raises new questions about the case, including whether two knives may have been used and whether the ME’s Office was pressured into changing their ruling by police.
Police said they treated Greenberg’s death as a suicide that night because the apartment door — which her fiance said he broke down — had been locked from the inside. Greenberg had no defensive wounds to indicate she tried to fight off an attacker, and there were no signs of an intruder in the apartment, police said.
The broken lock on Ellen Greenberg's apartment door. COURTESY OF THE GREENBERG FAMILY The broken lock on Ellen Greenberg's apartment door. But the next morning at autopsy, then-Assistant Philadelphia Medical Examiner Marlon Osbourne ruled her death a homicide after discovering 20 stab wounds to her body — 10 to the back of her neck, eight to her chest, one to her stomach, and a 2.5-inch-long gash across her scalp.
In a rare move, police publicly disputed the ME’s findings and by April 2011, Osbourne officially changed his ruling from homicide to suicide with no explanation to her parents, Joshua and Sandra Greenberg of Harrisburg.