Death investigation into teacher stabbed more than 20 times reopened after ruled suicide

Ellen Greenberg's family has long sought to get the 2011 suicide ruling changed to "homicide" or "undetermined."

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Thursday, August 11, 2022
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Ellen Greenberg's family has long sought to get the 2011 suicide ruling changed to "homicide" or "undetermined."

PHILADELPHIA -- The death of Ellen Greenberg, a 27-year-old teacher found dead of more than 20 stab wounds inside her locked Manayunk apartment in 2011, will now be re-reviewed by the Chester County District Attorney's Office.

Greenberg's family has long sought to get her suicide ruling changed to homicide or undetermined.

She was discovered by her fiancé in January 2011 at the Venice Lofts on the 4600 block of Flat Rock Road.

The city's Medical Examiner's Office initially ruled her death a homicide but then later changed it to suicide after information provided by police.

"This has taken 11 years, we want justice for our daughter, and maybe this will bring justice for others too," Ellen's father, Josh Greenberg, told Action News.

Attorney Joe Podraza, who is representing the Greenberg family, added, "I'm ecstatic. I think for the first time we might get an objective assessment of the case with somebody who will honestly look at it."

Podraza has filed two lawsuits against the City of Philadelphia on behalf of the Greenbergs.

Podraza says new evidence including information from a deposition from the Medical Examiner's Office should be enough to change the ruling.

In 2019, the family of Ellen Greenberg asked for the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office to rereview the case. However, District Attorney Larry Krasner sent the case to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office because he had previously represented the Greenbergs.

The Attorney General's Office agreed with the suicide determination. But in July 2022, the AG's Office kicked the case back to Philadelphia, saying:

"Unfortunately, after four years of work, new expert testimony and information has been publicly alleged but withheld from our investigators and new accusations of a conflict of interest have been made against our office ... While the Office of Attorney General does not have an actual conflict in this matter, circumstances beyond our control have created the appearance of a conflict and our involvement is no longer serving one of the primary purposes of the District Attorney's original conflict referral." (You can read the full statement at the bottom of this story.)

The Philadelphia DA then referred the case to the Chester County District Attorney's Office.

The Chester County DA's Office issued this statement, "Our office has accepted this referral from the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. We have assigned an investigator and prosecutor to review it."

The city of Philadelphia released a statement Tuesday night saying, "We recognize and appreciate the immense pain this incident has inflicted. At the same time, whether or not the Chester County DA is investigating has no bearing on the litigation."

Ellen Greenberg

Read the full statement released by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office in July:

"The Office of Attorney General has referred this case back to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office pursuant to Pennsylvania law. Our office performed an exhaustive review and conducted new forensic analysis, which has been shared to the extent permitted under Pennsylvania law. Unfortunately, after four years of work, new expert testimony and information has been publicly alleged but withheld from our investigators and new accusations of a conflict of interest have been made against our office.

Building public trust in the criminal justice system is a core priority for the Office of Attorney General. A primary purpose of case conflict referrals is to help law enforcement avoid simply the appearance of a conflict so the public has full faith in the outcome of criminal investigations. While the Office of Attorney General does not have an actual conflict in this matter, circumstances beyond our control have created the appearance of a conflict and our involvement is no longer serving one of the primary purposes of the District Attorney's original conflict referral.

As a result, we believe it is in the best interest of the public for this case to be referred to another office. Therefore, we are sending this case back to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office so that it may be referred to another county pursuant to Pennsylvania law.

We wish Ellen's family nothing but the best and our office regrets that, despite our extensive work, our additional efforts have not brought more closure to the questions around her death."