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Court records: Woman stabbed husband after he 'clawed at my face'

Elizabeth Marrinan, 47, has been charged with attempted

Elizabeth Marrinan, 47, has been charged with attempted murder, assault and possession of a dangerous weapon in connection with the stabbing of her husband at their home in Garden City, police said. (Jan. 21, 2013) Credit: NCPD

          An Editor’s Note published July 12, 2017, about Kevin Deutsch’s reporting appears at the end of this story. 

A Garden City school bus driver charged with attempted murder in her husband's stabbing told police she plunged a six-inch steak knife into his chest because he grabbed her hair and scratched her face, according to court records.

"He lunged at me and grabbed my hair and clawed at my face," Elizabeth Marrinan, 47, told investigators, the records show. "I picked up a knife and stabbed him . . . the steak knife in the kitchen sink."

Peter Marrinan, 57, suffered a punctured right lung and severe internal bleeding from the stab wound, records show. He was listed in critical but stable condition Tuesday at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola.

Several of the couple's neighbors said they heard them arguing inside their home on Pine Street in recent weeks -- but never thought their fighting would escalate to violence.

"They were a fixture in the neighborhood, and they were very well-liked and respected because Liz was great with our children and her husband is a nice guy," said neighbor John Betts, 45. "I trusted her enough to drive my son to school. I never, ever thought something like this would happen to the Marrinans."

Another neighbor, Sally Grossman, said she heard the couple yelling in their home late last week as she walked her dog down Pine Street.

"I didn't think much of it, because all couples argue sometimes," Grossman said. "I know her as a kind, thoughtful woman, and Peter to be just as sweet. This comes as a shock because they're good parents and good people."

Elizabeth Marrinan has been a bus driver for Garden City Union Free Schools since September 2002, according to state records. A district representative confirmed that she worked for the school district but did not comment further.

Peter Marrinan was stabbed Sunday evening after the couple "became involved in a domestic incident . . . that became physical," police said in a release.

Garden City police responded to the scene at 6:07 p.m. Sunday and arrested Elizabeth Marrinan without incident. At her arraignment in Nassau District Court in Hempstead, a judge ordered her held on $1 million bond.

She had not posted bail as of Tuesday afternoon, records show. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 24.

Editor’s note: Newsday undertook an extensive, four-month review of reporting by Kevin Deutsch, who covered law enforcement from April 2012 to September 2016.

The review of the former Newsday reporter’s work began after The Baltimore Sun this year reported that law enforcement and other officials questioned the veracity of Deutsch’s nonfiction book “Pill City” about Baltimore’s drug trade. In addition, questions arose about individuals named in Newsday stories by Deutsch. Book publisher St. Martin’s Press and Deutsch have said they stand behind the book.

We are dedicated to accurate, factual reporting, to the highest journalistic standards and to maintaining our credibility with Newsday readers. We also are committed to being accountable to our readers. Newsday undertook the detailed review in that spirit and because of the concerns that were raised.

In late February, as our review was under way, The New York Times reported in an editor’s note that The Times “had been unable to locate or confirm the existence of two people who were named and quoted” in a Dec. 29, 2016, freelance article written by Deutsch. Deutsch “maintains that the interviews and the descriptions are accurate,” The Times wrote.

Newsday reviewed 600 stories with reporting by Deutsch. We contacted officials in the police departments regularly involved in Deutsch’s coverage. They said they had not had problems with his work. We then focused our research and reporting on individuals who, as described in the stories, would not be considered officials, or well-known, public figures.

The review found 77 stories with 109 individuals from Deutsch’s reporting whom Newsday could not locate. The main points of the stories were not affected. While two stories about the Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen were based on sources Newsday could not locate, other media reported the main points of those stories but with attribution from different sources. In this story, Newsday could not locate: Sally Grossman. Newsday is attaching an editor’s note to each story online that contains individuals we cannot locate.

Here’s how Newsday conducted the review:

Researchers and reporters searched local and national public records, sites providing nationwide people searches, databases of business, real estate and conviction records, social media sites including Facebook, LinkedIn and and nationwide news archives. They searched potential alternate spellings and other name variations. Their reporting followed potential leads they found through research, within stories and in information shared by Deutsch during the review.

Finding people after publication, in some cases years later, can be difficult because of changes in residence, circumstance and contact information. Some may not have given their real names.

On the law enforcement beat, reporters may encounter people who lead lives that are not reflected in public records or other sources of information that would help locate them. It is possible that some on our list were difficult to find or reluctant to respond to our review because they are undocumented immigrants, those battling or recovering from addiction or people involved in or around illegal activity.

Some on our list were described discussing crimes in their neighborhoods, and others as relatives, friends or neighbors of victims or as individuals living near or knowing those accused of crimes.

Others we have not been able to locate, though, are described as bystanders, neighbors, spectators, relatives of drug victims, witnesses to news events or related in some way to people in the news. Still others are described in stories as people actively engaged in public issues, such as activists, protesters and marchers. Many individuals on the list are described as local.

Deutsch said in email exchanges with Newsday that “I have no doubt about the veracity of the claims of the sources I quoted.” He also said, “Not a single public official, source, or other interviewee has raised any issues with even one of these stories.”

“It's impossible for any reporter to know whether the name given to him by interviewees on the street--or those reached briefly by phone or email-- is that person's full and legal name, rather than an alias or variation of their real name (maiden names and certain common nicknames/abbreviations for first names are often published by newspapers, including Newsday.). But every one of the names on Newsday’s list was the name given to me by that interview subject, verbatim.”

During the four months of our review, Newsday shared questions and updates with Deutsch as we progressed in the search for individuals we could not locate. We requested notes and contact information. Deutsch sent us notes he said represented all individuals we were unable to locate and responded over the course of the review by email, sharing information he said was from his recollection and notes.

Reporters followed up on all information shared by Deutsch. He did not provide contact information for those on our list. Newsday reporters and editors sought unsuccessfully several times to meet with Deutsch to discuss his reporting and to review his notes together to ensure we were not missing contact information or other details that might help locate individuals. Deutsch maintained that the notes he shared “serve as evidence of interviews” with each source.

Deutsch said he kept contact information in a Rolodex he left behind at Newsday’s main office and in a company-issued cellphone he returned within a week after resigning on Sept. 6, 2016. Editorial staff did not find a Rolodex or other notes at our office, but found notes left at Newsday’s desk at a courthouse pressroom where he worked. We shared them with Deutsch and he confirmed they were his. As per company policy, the contents of the cellphone had been deleted immediately after Deutsch returned it to Newsday.

Maintaining the trust of our readers is essential to our mission.  If we are able subsequently to locate any individuals, we will update our stories.

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