OPINION: Josh Shapiro Shouldn’t Be Our Next Governor. Here’s Why.

When I step up to the ballot box tomorrow, I won’t be casting my vote for Josh Shapiro.

It’s not because of the positions he takes on topics that I care about. While it’s true that my personal politics are mostly out of alignment with his, it’s not his policies that turn me off the most. I just don’t trust that, when push comes to shove, he’ll do the right thing. I don’t trust that he’s a man of true integrity.

Photo Above: Josh Shapiro with other high school alumni. Circled are Mr. Shaprio, right, and Kimberly Schwartzman Kimmel, left.

Here’s why.

In 2011, a 27-year-old Philadelphia school teacher named Ellen Greenberg died in the apartment she shared with her fiancé, Sam Goldberg. Philadelphia Police investigators quickly chalked her death up to a suicide.

Ellen Rae Greenberg, June 2010. Courtesy Josh and Sandee Greenberg.

Ellen Greenberg was found with a knife in her chest lying on the floor of her kitchen. But when her body was taken to the medical examiner’s office, Dr. Marlon Osbourne found a total of 20 stab and slash wounds. Half of them were to the back of her head and neck.

Osbourne initially ruled her death a homicide, but after what was described in a recent court filing as a protracted public campaign by the Philadelphia Police Department designed to pressure him into changing his mind, as well as a “clandestine” private meeting between him, his boss, a representative from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and at least two representatives from the Philadelphia PD, he changed her manner of death to suicide.

Photogrammetry showing the wounds Ellen Greenberg sustained the day she died.

Ellen Greenberg’s parents, Josh and Sandee Greenberg, have been fighting the city of Philadelphia to change the manner of their daughter’s death ever since. In a 2021 deposition of Dr. Lindsey Emery, a pathologist who in 2019 reviewed a tissue sample of Ellen Greenberg’s body the city had retained, they discovered that her opinion was that at least two of the stab wounds in their daughter’s body had occurred after she died.

When the Greenbergs, through their attorney, informed Shapiro of the testimony, the Attorney General’s Office sent them a letter saying they’d reviewed the case and still support a finding of suicide.

This begs the question, who in Josh Shapiro’s office actually believes that Ellen Greenberg stabbed herself to death, and then stabbed herself another couple of times for good measure?

I’ve been telling the story of the murder of Ellen Greenberg on my YouTube channel since November 2021. Let me tell you a few more details I’ve learned about this case, then I’ll come back to Mr. Shapiro.

Sam Goldberg called 911 to report that Ellen was lying on the floor with “blood everywhere” at approximately 6:31PM on January 26, 2011. He said he left their sixth-story apartment about 45 minutes earlier to work out in the gym on the first floor. When he came back, he told investigators, the door was locked from the inside with a hotel-style swing bar lock. When he couldn’t reach Ellen by phone, text, email, or by shouting through the slightly-opened door, he said he broke it open and found Ellen unresponsive on the floor of their kitchen.

Goldberg’s call to 911 wasn’t the first call he made, though.

At 6:14, according to a confidential source whose information was largely confirmed in a letter to me by an attorney representing members of Goldberg’s family, he called his cousin, Kamian Schwartzman. That call lasted about five minutes. Over the next seven minutes, Sam missed several calls from his uncle, James Schwartzman. At 6:26, James Schwartzman tried calling again and Sam picked up the phone.

Kamian and James Schwartzman were at the apartment building sometime that night. I think I spotted Kamian on security camera footage walking up to the building at about 6:34PM, right before first responders arrived. But, in the threatening letter his attorney sent to me, he claimed that he arrived with his father sometime after 7:00 or “closer to 7:30.” Either way, they were on-scene the night Ellen Greenberg was killed.

James and Kamian Schwartzman are both lawyers. According to his firm’s website, James is the Chairman of the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Group. He’s a former Assistant US Attorney and was appointed to be a judge on the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline by Governor Tom Wolf. In 2021, he was elected as the President Judge of the Court of Judicial Discipline. For at least 19 years, he sat on the board of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. He is politically-connected and powerful according to people who know him who spoke to me on condition of anonymity. He’s somebody who I think should be profoundly acquainted with legal ethics.

Ellen Rae Greenberg on her engagement day.

The day after Ellen Greenberg was murdered, James Schwartzman and somebody else went back to the apartment under the auspices of retrieving a suit for Goldberg to wear to Ellen Greenberg’s funeral, according to a statement from the property manager. When they left, they took her personal laptop, her work laptop, another laptop, and her cell phone from the crime scene. Witnesses have said they think Kamian Schwartzman may have been his companion, but they can’t be sure. Philadelphia Police retrieved the electronics from Judge Schwartzman two days later according to a property receipt.

On June 18th, I received an anonymous tip through my website that said Josh Shapiro went to a very small school with Judge Schwartzman’s daughter and that they likely have other connections, as well. I went to work and confirmed that Mr. Shapiro and Kimberly “Kimby” Schwartzman Kimmel did indeed go to school together and that they have other connections through their children’s school activities. Mr. Shapiro called Mrs. Kimmel and her husband “friends” in a tweet in November 2010. I also found donations from the Kimmels to Mr. Shapiro’s political campaigns.

On July 12th, I posted a video to YouTube titled Josh Shapiro May Have Broken the Law in which I detailed Mr. Shapiro’s possible conflict of interest in the case due to his personal relationship with the Schwartzman family.

At about 3:30PM on Friday, July 15th—just three days later—the Attorney General’s office gave a statement to 6abc reporter Annie McCormack saying that they would be referring the case out due to the perception of a conflict of interest. Josh Shapiro did not admit to an actual conflict.

The statement read:

“The Office of Attorney General has referred this case back to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office pursuant to Pennsylvania law. Our office performed an exhaustive review and conducted new forensic analysis, which has been shared to the extent permitted under Pennsylvania law. Unfortunately, after four years of work, new expert testimony and information has been publicly alleged but withheld from our investigators and new accusations of a conflict of interest have been made against our office.

“Building public trust in the criminal justice system is a core priority for the Office of Attorney General. A primary purpose of case conflict referrals is to help law enforcement avoid simply the appearance of a conflict so the public has full faith in the outcome of criminal investigations. While the Office of Attorney General does not have an actual conflict in this matter, circumstances beyond our control have created the appearance of a conflict and our involvement is no longer serving one of the primary purposes of the District Attorney’s original conflict referral.

“As a result, we believe it is in the best interest of the public for this case to be referred to another office. Therefore, we are sending this case back to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office so that it may be referred to another county pursuant to Pennsylvania law.

“We wish Ellen’s family nothing but the best and our office regrets that, despite our extensive work, our additional efforts have not brought more closure to the questions around her death.”

Questions I left on the voicemail of Molly Steiber, Mr. Shapiro’s Press Secretary, asking for clarification went unanswered.

In the days following the statement from the AG’s office, Ellen Greenberg’s case received a lot of attention. Fox News, People, and The Daily Mail wrote stories and follow-ups in order to satiate their readers’ true crime hunger. Each story outlined the gruesome facts of Ellen Greenberg’s death and reported that her case was given new life when it was unexpectedly referred from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office to (ultimately) the Chester County District Attorney. But each story failed to say exactly why the case was kicked after four-and-a-half years of the AG insisting she died by suicide, you know, by stabbing herself in the brain and spinal cord until she was dead, and then finally plunging the knife into her own heart.

Crime Online, the Nancy Grace-founded website, attempted to take credit for the referral when Leigh Egan told her readers that the case was referred following their “gut wrenching” investigation. While it’s certainly true that the case was referred after the Crime Stories team filmed an interview with Josh and Sandee Greenberg, to infer that the referral was made because of their reporting is irresponsible. The referral happened more than a month before the Fox Nation piece hit the proverbial airwaves.

Ellen Greenberg’s case was kicked because an anonymous viewer of my YouTube channel informed me that Attorney General Josh Shapiro is personal friends with a family member of Sam Goldberg, Ellen Greenberg’s fiancé and the person I believe should have been investigators’ prime suspect in a murder investigation.

In my opinion, Josh Shapiro and his staff has been stonewalling the Greenbergs’ efforts to have their daughter’s death ruled a homicide for four-and-a-half years. Why? Could it be his personal relationship with Sam Goldberg’s family? In my opinion (again), it’s plausible.

Now Ellen Greenberg’s case is in the hands of Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan. I don’t know Ms. Ryan, but I’m hopeful that her office is taking a fair look into Ellen Greenberg’s death and will come back with the opinion that she was murdered, as the evidence supports. Time will tell if she has more integrity than our would-be Governor, who most decidedly will not be getting my vote.

Gavin_Fish_EYT_Media_Footer_Image Gavin Fish is a reporter for EYT Media Group and YouTuber based in Venango County. In addition to his YouTube Channel, he has contributed to investigations and reports for ABC News, Investigation Discovery, and Fox Nation, and has collaborated on projects developed for Netflix, Oxygen, Discovery Channel, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.

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