Binghamton Suicide Now Ruled As Homicide

By Kiersten Mathieu

July 22, 2010 Updated Oct 16, 2006 at 10:30 PM EST

The name Fitzgerald is carved into the mailbox of 19 Walnut Street in Binghamton.

It's where 41 year old Michael Fitzgerald lived his is girlfriend.

Police say he killed her inside this home last month.

"That's strange, right in your neighborhood," says neighbor Ethel Hill.

"It's a pretty scary feeling," says neighbor Michael Faragl.

On September 20th, Fitzgerald called 911.

He reported his girlfriend, 32 year old Joey Lansdowne, had committed suicide.

Police say the autopsy shows Lansdowne died from asphyxiation due to strangulation.

While they can't discuss details, police don't think the woman could have strangled herself.

"We're confident that this was a homicide and the grand jury felt the same way. I think its safe to say this was a result of a domestic dispute," says Capt. Alex Minor of Binghamton Police.

Police presented the case to the Broome County Grand Jury on Friday.

An indictment was handed up for second degree murder, and Fitzgerald was arrested last night.

Some neighbors say they heard people arguing inside the house and some neighbors tell us they would see police cars out front.

"I always see them in the window. I think I heard them argue," says Hill.

"I've seen the police cars up there, different times," says Roland Ellis of Binghamton.

Michael's brother, Kevin Fitzgerald, says the his brother and Lansdowne bickered like any other couple.

He believes his brother is innocent.

"I know my brother did not have it in him to do something like that. And the facts and the truth will definitely come out in court," says Michael's brother Kevin Fitzgerald.

Monday night Fitzgerald is sitting in the Broome County Jail, waiting for his next date in court.

Lansdowne has 2 children, who did not live with her.

The Broome County Grand Jury handed up a sealed indictment.

Information about the investigation and evidence can't be revealed until Fitzgerald is arraigned.

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