Pagli expected to plead guilty in slaying of her daughter

Stacey Pagli (left) plans to admit in court that she strangled her teenage daughter at Manhattanville College in February, her lawyer said at her latest court appearance today.

“We anticipate a disposition in this matter,” said Allan Focarile of the Westchester Legal Aid Society.

Pagli, 38, is being held without bail on a second-degree murder charge. There was no word on if she would plead guilty to that charge or to a reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter. It was also uncertain what the sentencing recommendation would be should she enter a guilty plea.

She will return to court on Jan. 11. Acting state Supreme Court Justice Richard Molea is presiding over the case.

She is accused of strangling 18-year-old Marissa Pagli on Feb. 22 in the family’s on-campus apartment in Purchase. Her estranged husband, John Pagli, a college maintenance supervisor, found his daughter’s body and his unconscious wife in their second-floor apartment in an apparent suicide attempt.

John Pagli was in the courtroom gallery today, as he has been for nearly ever one of his wife’s appearances. He exchanged a long glance with his wife, who made eye contact with him while her attorney was discussing the case with the judge and prosecutors. When she looked away, he began to shake and left the courtroom in tears as she was returned to the courthouse’s holding cell.

Assistant District Attorney Timothy Ward, who is prosecuting the case, said he recently received a report from Dr. Angela Hegarty, a psychiatric expert for the District Attorney’s Office, who interviewed Pagli. He will turn over the report to Focarile, who hired his own psycholigists to examine his client.

Authorities say Pagli, 38, returned home after dropping off her 3-year-old daughter, Gianna, at day care Feb. 22 and began arguing with Marissa, a Manhattanville freshman. She strangled her daughter, authorities said, then tried killing herself first by cutting her wrist and then by hanging herself with a belt on a doorknob. In court papers, Pagli told police that she strangled her daughter because she was disrespectful and rude. “I couldn’t take it anymore,” she told police. “She pushed my last button.”

According to the statements, she then used a belt to try to strangle herself but failed, as she did in an attempt to slash her wrist. She said she had left a note for her husband. She tried to kill herself again by tying socks around her neck in jail.

Rebecca Baker

Rebecca Baker joined The Journal News in March 2004. She covers Eastchester, Bronxville and Tuckahoe, and was previously the state and county courts reporter in Westchester County. In prior jobs, she covered the Town of Greenburgh and Rockland County government and politics. Before coming to The Journal News, she was a municipal reporter for newspapers in New Haven, Conn. and Warren, Ohio.