Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

New Orleans Sportscaster Charged in Wife's Death

An Acrimonious Marriage

When the late Mrs. Marinello's death notice and photo appeared on the obituary page of the September 5 edition of the Times-Picayune, she was listed as "Mary Elizabeth Norman Caruso." The name "Marinello" appeared nowhere, nor did any references to her husband, despite her having been married to him for two years prior to her death. In all likelihood, the omission was at the behest of the victim's family, who were understandably bitter and angry over how the marriage played out and spiraled downward to its tragic conclusion.

However, according to accounts, things certainly didn't start out that way. It appears to have been a case of mutual love at first sight. Family members and friends who knew the couple described the courtship in almost storybook terms, and it was a whirlwind courtship. Vince Marinello and Mary Elizabeth Norman Caruso were wed within months of their first meeting.

Mary Marinello
Mary Marinello

A native of Purvis, Mississippi, a small county seat just off I-59 between Hattiesburg and the Louisiana state line, Mary Elizabeth was cheerful and well-liked in her early years, according to family and friends. She came to New Orleans at the age of 19 and, at the time of her death, she had been working as a respiratory therapist at Children's Hospital for more than ten years. Prior to meeting Marinello, she had been married to a man named Caruso and had had a daughter, Clare.

In early 2004, Marinello was emceeing an Elvis impersonation contest at Mid-City Lanes Rock 'n' Bowl, probably the only bowling alley in the U.S. where one can listen to live Zydeco or R&B music while knocking down the pins. It was there that he first locked eyes with pretty, dark-haired Liz Caruso. According to Liz's mother, Bertha Norman, Marinello and Liz were out on the dance floor together for a good part of the evening, and they had their first date shortly afterward, on Valentine's Day. On October 24, 2004, they were married.

Seal: City of Harahan
Seal: City of Harahan

However, just as quickly as the romance skyrocketed upward, it came down with equal or worse intensity. Immediately after Liz's murder, ugly details of the couple's married life began to surface. Marinello's handwritten notes, found by Liz's family in her home in the New Orleans suburb of Harahan and made public in the media, revealed a man boiling over with rage at his new bride. In one of these notes, he chastised her for not spending enough time with him, for allegedly spending too much of his money, and for not complimenting him on his appearance as much as others did.

"You are cold, sarcastic, selfish, unfair and, in general, you have become aggravating," Marinello reportedly wrote her in a handwritten letter dated October 11, 2005, and made public on September 6, the following year. A few paragraphs later, he criticized Liz for not noticing a new shirt he wore the night before. "I, on the other hand, always tell you how beautiful you look," he continued. "Do you really believe I like everything you wear? Do you really think I look at you as being beautiful every time?"

In another letter, undated but likely written in late May or early June 2006, Marinello wrote, "Do I still love you like crazy? Am I still in worship of you? Would I do anything, legal or otherwise, for you? Do I still adore you? Would I still give you my soul? No! Not anymore not after the past Monday when you acted like a crazed woman, attacking me in every which way."

The "past Monday" he wrote about was most likely a reference to a dust-up between the two of them that escalated into violence on Monday, May 29. By that time, the marriage had almost totally unraveled.

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