Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will no longer prosecute a Manhattan nurse who was charged with fatally stabbing her estranged husband over two years ago in what she claimed was self defense.
Bragg told the judge presiding over the case Friday that he will file a motion to dismiss the second-degree murder indictment against Tracy McCarter.
McCarter was accused of killing her husband James Murray in her Upper West Side apartment building in March 2020 following a history of abuse.
“After carefully reviewing all the evidence and extensively discussing this matter with members of my office, I have a reasonable doubt of whether Ms. McCarter stabbed Mr. Murray with the requisite intent to support a conviction of murder in the second degree,” Bragg wrote to New York Supreme Court Justice Diane Kiesel, according to a copy of the letter provided by McCarter’s lawyers.
“I decline to proceed with prosecution of the indictment. Accordingly, because ‘courts lack the authority to compel the prosecution of criminal actions,’ … I also recommend that the indictment be dismissed,” Bragg wrote.
In May, Bragg attempted to offer McCarter a no-jail plea bargain by which she would plead guilty to manslaughter and criminal menacing, after one year of mandated medical treatment for PTSD, the charge be vacated. However, Justice Kiesel rejected the deal.
Then in August, Bragg filed a motion to dismiss her murder indictment and instead proceed with a first-degree manslaughter charge — which was supported by McCarter’s legal team, but that was also denied by Kiesel, who said Bragg’s office failed to make a sound legal argument.
With two plea deals off the table, Bragg said his only choice was to dismiss McCarter’s murder indictment.
“At this stage — with the proposed plea and reduced charge foreclosed — the options remaining available to me as District Attorney are stark: to proceed or decline to proceed to trial on a charge where I have reasonable doubt,” Bragg wrote.
“I regret that my constitutional prerogative is limited now to a choice between proceeding or not on a charge of murder in the second degree. Between those choices, however, I cannot responsibly go forward,” he concluded.
McCarter’s attorney, Sean Hecker, said the district attorney “has righted a grievous injustice.”
“Tracy McCarter is an innocent survivor of domestic violence who has suffered mightily from a criminal justice system that demands change,” Hecker said in a statement Friday. “We are grateful to all those who have supported Ms. McCarter and heard her pleas.”
Last month, dozens of advocates, including McCarter’s son, rallied outside of Bragg’s office in Foley Square demanding that he drop all charges against McCarter.
During Bragg’s run to be Manhattan’s top prosecutor, Bragg threw his support behind McCarter in a Sept. 2020 tweet linking to a news article about her case.
McCarter, 46, stabbed Murray, 48, after he showed up to her apartment drunk, demanded money and threatened her.
Neighbors recalled hearing McCarter screaming for help and finding her over Murray’s bloodied body trying to stop him from bleeding. Earlier in the day, they said he went on a drunken rampage in the building.
McCarter had no prior NYPD record, and there was no history of domestic incidents reported at their home, authorities said.
Murray was, however, hospitalized after a dispute between the couple in July 2019 due to his level of intoxication, police said. He told cops at the time that he was “an alcoholic and relapsed.”
McCarter’s trial was set to begin on Nov. 28.