Westchester Mom Admits Strangling 18-Year-Old Daughter

38-year-old woman then tried to kill herself, prosecutors say

Tuesday, Feb 1, 2011  |  Updated 1:35 PM EDT
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Westchester Mom Admits Strangling 18-Year-Old Daughter

Siede Preis

The details of the argument aren't clear.

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A 38-year-old woman has admitted in court that she strangled her 18-year-old daughter at a college campus in New York.

Stacy Pagli, who had been charged with murder, pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree manslaughter. In exchange, she is to be sentenced to 20 years in prison.
       
Her mental state was the focus of pretrial hearings.
       
Marissa Pagli, a freshman at Manhattanville College in Purchase was found dead in her family's on-campus apartment. Her father was a maintenance supervisor at the college.
       
He found his daughter's body _ and his wife lying nearby. Prosecutors said Stacy Pagli had tried to commit suicide by cutting her left wrist and hanging herself on a doorknob.
       
According to court papers, Pagli told police that her daughter had "pushed my last button.''

On Feb. 22, Stacey Pagli returned to her apartment in the faculty housing area on campus after dropping her 3-year-old off at daycare and almost immediately began arguing with Marissa, prosecutors say.

The argument turned physical, and Pagli choked Marissa to death, according to the indictment unsealed Thursday morning. After allegedly murdering her daughter, Pagli attempted to kill herself – first by cutting her left wrist and then by hanging herself on a doorknob, the indictment reads. When Pagli's husband, John, came home just after noon, he found his unconscious wife and dead daughter and called the cops.

Emergency personnel tried to revive Marissa to no avail. They did, however, save Pagli, who was taken to a local hospital. Cops arrested Pagli after she made statements implicating herself in the crime.

She said she killed her daughter and tried to kill herself because they were "too much baggage" for her husband, the papers say. "Me and Marissa, we ruined his life," the mother is quoted as saying, without elaborating.       

In the police accounts, Pagli says of the suicide attempt, "It didn't work because I'm still here.'' Of the cuts on her wrist, she is quoted as saying, "I guess they weren't deep enough.''

When police asked what prompted Marissa to be disrespectful on the day she died, her mother said, "I asked her where she was going,'' the police account says.

Pagli also expressed regret, saying, "I wish I could take it back, but I can't. I can't make it better, she's not here anymore,'' according to the police account.       

She asked officers to tell her husband and their surviving 3 year-old daughter, Gianna, "I did love them. ... I'm so sorry.''

Pagli's lawyer, Allan Focarile, would not comment on the indictment or the conversations.

Pagli faces second-degree murder charges in connection with Marissa's killing. If convicted, she faces 25 years to life in state prison.

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