Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

New Orleans Sportscaster Charged in Wife's Death

A Blueprint for Murder: Part 1

At the time of her death, Liz Marinello and her estranged husband appeared to be heading for a collision course over community assets, including the house in Harahan. The divorce proceedings were bound to be messy, especially in light of reports that Liz was going to charge Marinello with bigamy, an accusation he reportedly feared would destroy his professional reputation.

Whether or not these factors drove Marinello off the deep end will more than likely be determined when his case comes to trial. What is known, however, is that someone shot Liz Marinello in plain sight and in broad daylight, and all of the clues that were pieced together pointed in the same direction: to Marinello's involvement.

Metairie Office Tower
Metairie Office Tower

Apparently, the emotional stress Liz was going through in the later stages of her marriage to Marinello was too much for her and she sought professional counseling. That's where she was when she was gunned down around 4:00 in the afternoon on Thursday, August 31, 2006. She had just emerged from a counseling session, through the rear entrance to the Metairie Office Tower at 433 Metairie Road, when she was confronted by a scruffy-looking man with a beard and mustache. He pointed a gun at her, shot her twice in the face, then fled on a bicycle, leaving her lying in a pool of blood in the parking lot. She was rushed to the Charity Hospital Trauma Center in the Elmwood section of Metairie, where she died around 2:00 a.m., September 1.

Marinello Residence
Charity Hospital

When initially questioned by Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies, Marinello told investigators that he had been en route to a Saints pre-season game in Jackson, Mississippi, at the time his wife was shot. He said he arrived at the stadium in Jackson at 6:30 p.m. and met some of his friends there: David Daniels and his wife, who had lived in the same Lakeview neighborhood until Katrina flood damage forced them to relocate to Jackson. Since Jackson is a normally a three-hour drive from New Orleans, Marinello's alibi appeared to be legit.

Daniels Residence
Daniels Residence

However, the Daniels couple later reported that they erred and they placed Marinello's arrival in Jackson after the 7:30 p.m. kickoff which, theoretically, would have given him time to shoot his wife and drive the nearly 200 miles to Jackson. And, when investigators from Jefferson and Orleans parishes searched Marinello's trailer in Lakeview, the rest of his alibi fell apart as well.

The most damning piece of evidence police found was an apparent "checklist"; a list of "to-do" items, allegedly in Marinello's own handwriting, with check marks or X's beside each item on the list. Among the items on the list were reminders to buy a disguise, buy bullets, have a gun test-fired, and dispose of the gun. And, as if to make things even easier for investigators to draw their conclusions, on the back of the checklist was a hand-drawn map of the parking lot where Liz Marinello was ambushed.

As investigators ran down the clues, everything seemed to be a perfect match. A man fitting Marinello's description had gone into a local costume shop and bought a fake mustache. When asked if he needed a fake beard to go with it, the buyer allegedly told the shop owner that he already had one at home.

Other items on Marinello's "to-do" list included buying bullets and having a gun test-fired. Shortly after his arrest, the owner of a gun store, Elliot's Small Arms in Jefferson, LA, came forward and told investigators that Marinello had brought a .38 caliber snub-nosed pistol to the store to have it test-fired in July 2006. During the same visit, Marinello allegedly bought a box of 50 Nyclad, nylon-coated, .38 caliber bullets. A forensic examination concluded that Liz Marinello was shot with a .38 and a bullet recovered from her body was of the same seldom-used Nyclad type that Marinello allegedly bought at the gun store. A search warrant executed by Jefferson Parish deputies allowed them to seize the sand bucket into which the alleged murder weapon was test-fired.

When questioned by investigators, Marinello denied ever having taken a .38 to the gun store. However, Marinello's former neighbor, David Daniels, told police that his wife had given Marinello a .38 that they owned. Mrs. Daniels denied giving the gun to Marinello, but she said that he knew where it was hidden in their house at 6075 Vicksburg Street, New Orleans. She explained that the gun was stored on the top shelf of a linen closet in their now-damaged home, to keep it out of reach of their grandchildren. When police searched the closet for the weapon, it was gone.

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