Daughter-slay plea postponed

There has yet to be a plea deal offered to Stacey Pagli (left), who, according to her lawyer, plans to admit in court that she strangled her teenage daughter last year at Manhattanville College.

Pagli appeared briefly in Westchester County court today. She is due to return Feb. 1, but her lawyer and prosecutor will meet for a conference on Jan. 25.

Allan Focarile of the Westchester Legal Aid Society said he is waiting for the District Attorney’s office to make an offer in exchange for a guilty plea. Pagli, 38, is charged with second-degree murder, punishable by 25 years to life in prison. Assistant District Attorney Timothy Ward is the prosecutor.

Focarile  said he hoes the DA’s office realizes how extremely depressed and emotionally disturbed his client was when 18-year-old Marissa Pagli was strangled on Feb. 22 in the family’s on-campus apartment in Purchase. He said there will likely be a decision on the direction of the case — but not a guilty plea — on Feb. 1.

“I think there will be a resolution that will be satisfactory to everyone involved,” he said.

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.

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. He was in the courtroom gallery today, as he has been for nearly every one of his wife’s appearances, and was accompanied by a private lawyer.

Acting state Supreme Court Justice Richard Molea is presiding over the case.

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.