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Source: ALEX KENT / Getty

Former nurse Tracy McCarter may be one step closer to having murder charges against her dropped. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced he would not prosecute McCarter for the murder of her estranged husband, James Murray.

He previously came under fire from advocacy group supporter McCarter for what was seen as a reversal of his pre-election position. According to CBS News, Bragg said a review of the evidence did not support continuing with the second-degree murder charge against McCarter. The former nurse and mother of four was facing second-degree murder charges.

McCarter had been arrested in March 2020 after allegedly stabbing her husband with a kitchen knife after he reportedly assaulted her. Accounts supporting McCarter said she had been separated from her husband, who was white, since 2019 after he beat and choked her.

Several petitions were launched supporting McCarter, including one on Color of Change’s platform. The petition alleges Bragg publicly declared support for McCarter during his campaign, quoting a tweet from an account connected with his campaign.

Sakira Cook, vice president of Color of Change, said domestic abuse survivors should be entitled to the right to self-defense without fear of prosecution.

“Tracy McCarter is a mother, grandmother, and trained nurse from New York City, whose life has been upended because of the action of her abusive husband,” Cook said. “Her story illustrates that when Black women are the victims of abuse, the criminal legal system often fails them. We cannot punish people for acting in self-defense against their abusers, especially when their lives are in danger.”

Cook said McCarter’s fate now lies in the hands of state Supreme Court Judge Diane Kiesel

“We applaud District Attorney Alvin Bragg for his courage in finally recognizing this unjust situation and halting her prosecution,” Cook said. “Yet, the final decision on this case, and the fate of a Black woman wrongfully accused, now rests with state Supreme Court Judge Diane Kiesel. We call on Judge Keisel to do the right thing and end this nightmare for Tracy, her family, and all survivors, once and for all.”

Bragg called the incident tragic in a letter to Kiesel, which outlined his rationale for dropping the charges. The reversal in prosecution comes mere days before the trial was set to begin.

“I make this decision with full awareness of the life that was taken in this tragic incident and the many people who are impacted by Ms. McCarter’s stabbing of Mr. Murray,” 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.”

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Raymond Flanks
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