Manhattanville mom describes choking ‘rude’ daughter — (Lohud)

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Lohud

By Shawn Cohen and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon • spcohen@lohud.com

March 18, 2010

WHITE PLAINS  Stacey Pagli, indicted on a second-degree murder charge for allegedly killing her daughter at Manhattanville College, told police she choked Marissa Pagli because she was “disrespectful” and “rude.”

“I couldn’t take it any more,” she told police in a sworn statement released today.

“She pissed me off for the last time,” her statement said. “She couldn’t talk to me like that.”

In the days following her daughter’s death, Pagli also allegedly told investigators that she left her husband a note “to relieve John of all the stress that the baggage has brought him,” and that she took the drug Wellbutrin, commonly used as an antidepressant, the day of the killing.

She told police that she and her daughter Marissa argued “everyday, just like every other day.”

On Feb. 22, the day Marissa was killed, Pagli told her daughter, “Don’t ever speak to me like that,” according to the statement.

“This will be the last time you speak to me like that.”

The indictment, released today, alleges Stacey Pagli returned home after dropping off her 3-year-old daughter, Gianna, at day care, entered the apartment and almost immediately began arguing with Marissa, an 18-year-old Manhattanville freshman.

She strangled her daughter, then attempted to kill herself by first cutting her left wrist and then by hanging herself with a belt on a doorknob, the Westchester District Attorney’s Office said.

Stacey Pagli has yet to be arraigned.

Pagli, 38, was charged with second-degree murder two days after the killing in the family’s campus apartment. Pagli is on suicide watch in the Westchester County jail.

Police say they believe the daughter, was strangled about 9 a.m. Stacey Pagli’s husband, John, a college maintenance supervisor, returned home shortly after noon to find his wife unconscious and his daughter lifeless in her bedroom in their second-floor apartment. Emergency responders revived Marissa, but she later died at a hospital.
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The day after Marissa’s death, Stacey Pagli was interviewed twice by Harrison Detective Michael Walther, telling him that the night before the violent encounter she fought with her husband “here and there about me being a bitch, and some other things he said that I don’t ever want to hear or repeat again,” according to the statements.

Asked what her husband said, Pagli told Walthers it was “things you don’t say to your wife if you love her.”

On Feb. 22, Pagli said that after returning from day care, she walked the family dogs and came home to find Marissa getting dressed for class. Pagli also told Walther that she had taken Wellbutrin, an FDA-approved smoking cessation drug commonly used as an antidepressant, that same morning.

Pagli and her daughter soon got into an argument, the statements said.

“I asked her if she had any misunderstandings with Marissa yesterday,” Walther wrote. “She said just her attitude. She’s disrespectful all of the time, just to me. She’s a different person to everybody else.”

Asked if she and her daughter had fought in the past, Pagli told Walther, “not really, a couple of little shoves, nothing major like this one,” the statements said. “She pushed my last button.”

Pagli said she entered her daughter’s room during the argument after Marissa “said something.” The statement doesn’t say what was said. There, the two women got into a physical confrontation that ended with mother and daughter on the bedroom floor.

“I had my arms around her neck,” Pagli allegedly said. “She was lying on her stomach at some point, she was also on her back. I was on top of her…. Marissa was flailing her arms.”

“I asked if she knew that she had done something bad, she said yes,” Walther wrote. “‘I killed Marissa.'”

According to the statements, Pagli then used a belt to try to strangle herself, but failed, as did an attempt to slash her wrists with a kitchen knife. She said she also left a note for her husband, John.

“I asked what she wrote in the note, she said, bye, you could be happy now, were (sic) too much baggage me and Marissa, we ruined his life,” Walthers wrote. “I asked if the comments John made to her the night before made her angry, she said yes. I asked if she thought she was trying to hurt John, she said I was trying to relieve John of all the stress….”
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On Feb. 24, Stacey Pagli opened up further in a recorded conversation with investigators, describing how she strangled her daughter with her bare hands.

She said Marissa, underneath her on the bedroom floor, tried to fight back from her choke hold, but put up little struggle because, “I wouldn’t let her.”

Asked if she wanted her daughter to die, Stacey Pagli replied, “I wanted both of us to die.”

After the killing, she picked up her daughter and placed her in bed next to a teddy bear. Asked why, she said, “’cause I love Marissa.”

She spoke about her troubled relationship with her daughter, saying they “were always angry with each other,” and that Marissa routinely called her a bad mother and that she “hated me.”

“I just couldn’t live with it anymore,” Pagli allegedly said.

She said she had reached a “boiling point” and “snapped.”

In that interview, Pagli also called herself “a worthless piece of (expletive).”

“After a while you just get to know you’re (expletive) worthless, after a while people tell you the same thing over and over again, you’re going to start believe it and feeling it and therefore I do.”

But she expressed regret over the killing, saying, “I didn’t mean” to hurt Marissa, but that “all my anger just piled up.”

Finally asked whether she had anything to pass along to her surviving family, she said to “tell Gianna that I love her, that I’m sorry, didn’t mean to hurt them, please let John and Gianna know that I did love them, tell them if I could take it back I would, but I can’t. I’m sorry.”

Stacey Pagli’s family history includes several suicides. After her arrest, she attempted to kill herself again by tying socks around her neck.