After a judge turned down the nurse’s request to lower the charges, the Manhattan DA must now try her for the murder of her husband.
Tuesday, a judge in Manhattan said no to prosecutors’ request that murder charges against a nurse be dropped because she was a victim of domestic violence.
The Manhattan district attorney asked State Supreme Court Justice Diane Kiesel to drop murder charges against 46-year-old Tracy McCarter for killing her husband, James Murray, on March 2, 2020. But State Supreme Court Justice Diane Kiesel said no. Instead, the DA wanted to charge McCarter with manslaughter.
McCarter says she stabbed Murray out of self-defense when he came to her Upper West Side apartment drunk and attacked her while demanding money. McCarter said that Murray’s alcoholism wasn’t being treated, so he and his wife were living apart.
McCarter was charged by a grand jury in Manhattan when Cy Vance, Jr. was the district attorney there. Alvin Bragg, who took over as DA after him, has said that he would have handled McCarter’s case differently if there was proof that she had been abused.
In a motion filed on August 5, Bragg’s office said, “The People have looked at proof that the defendant is a victim of domestic violence.” “Mr. Murray could get violent if he was drunk.”
Kiesel said that prosecutors waited too long to file the “tepid” motion to drop the murder charge, and that the case against McCarter was strong enough to go forward.
Kiesel said that the DA’s office had 45 days after McCarter was arraigned, which was more than a year before Bragg was elected, to drop the murder charge, but it is now too late because Bragg was just elected.
“This Court has no sympathy for domestic abusers and fully understands the long, sad cycle that happens when there is violence in a close relationship,” Kiesel wrote.
“The defendant may be a survivor, and her late husband may have been a mean, violent, and dangerous man. If so, the court will show that to be true.”
McCarter was a mother of four and worked at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. She was also in a master’s program at Columbia University when the crime happened. She has never done anything wrong.
No one saw the stabbing happen, but neighbors at McCarter’s apartment building on Amsterdam Ave. near W. Authorities say that people on 92nd St. heard Murray yelling and banging on doors. One person claims to have heard McCarter tell Murray not to take her purse.
McCarter called 911, and when the police showed up, he was giving Murray CPR.
Because of Kiesel’s decision, McCarter will be tried on the original murder charges, even though prosecutors think she is not guilty of them.
Sean Hecker, McCarter’s lawyer, said that he thought the DA should have moved faster.
“Alternatively, the DA’s office can take the case to a grand jury and present all the evidence, including proof that Ms. McCarter has been a victim of domestic violence in the past,” he said.
If McCarter is found guilty of murder, he could go to prison for 25 years to life.