A New York nurse denied bail after fatally stabbing her husband remains on Rikers Island

New York nurse Tracy McCarter says after stabbing her husband, she rendered first aid to save him

Authorities say New York nurse who is accused of fatally stabbing her intoxicated husband in her apartment is now claiming she merely acted in self-defense.

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According to The Gothamist, Tracy McCarter’s attorney is arguing that his client’s estranged husband, James Murray, was incredibly “intoxicated” and “attacking her” when she stabbed him in the chest.

The 44-year-old, who is a nurse at Weill Cornell Medical Center, maintains that she’d split from her husband “some time ago” before he showed up unannounced on March 2 at the Upper West Side apartment they once shared.

“This is a strong case of self-defense,” the defendant’s attorney, Frank Rothman said in Manhattan Criminal Court.

He also added that the victim had a “long history of violent behavior and alcohol abuse” and had been drunk and disruptively ringing doorbells for several apartments in his client’s building before she ultimately relented and let him in. Murray, who was white, had been to rehab five times, The Gothamist reported.


McCarter, a mother of four, said upon entering the apartment her husband then became abusive and demanded money. When he tried to grab her purse, she stabbed him and then called 911. Murray died shortly afterward.

McCarter was denied bail and has remained at Rikers for the past six months, during a time where New York City’s jail complex has seen an explosion in COVID-19 cases.

“You just feel so helpless,” McCarter said during a call from the infamous jail, in which she expressed her frustration that she couldn’t use her nursing skills during the pandemic. “You know one more person would make a difference.”

“We’re a really vulnerable population and don’t have the power to say, ‘Don’t come near me without a mask,’” she noted.

Although there were allegations of domestic abuse on both sides, McCarter’s lawyers released a statement to The Gothamist, urging that McCarter be released on bail.

“The prosecutors in this case have been presented with independent, corroborated evidence from multiple sources that Tracy is a victim of repeated instances of domestic violence at the hands of the decedent, always during occasions when he was drunk, as he was on the night he died,” Sean Hecker of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, Jacob Buchdahl of Susan Godfrey, and Jeffrey Brown of Dechert, wrote.

“This is not a murder case and Ms. McCarter does not belong at Rikers.”

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A Change.org petition has been created by a fellow health care professional to advocate for McCarter’s release. It’s already generated over 500 signatures.

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