Sheriff: Killing of New Orleans Talk Show Host's Wife Was 'Hit,' Not Botched Robbery

The parking lot shooting that killed the wife of a New Orleans radio show host, once thought to have been a robbery gone bad, is now being investigated as a premeditated attack, the sheriff said.

Mary Elizabeth Marinello, a 45-year-old respiratory therapist, died Sept. 1, a day after she was shot twice in the face as she stood in a parking lot.

The attack was first described as a botched robbery, but Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee said Wednesday night that it is now being treated as a "hit" based on surveillance tapes.

No arrests had been made Thursday morning and no suspects named.

Lee's comments came after deputies searched Vince Marinello's storm-damaged house, the FEMA trailer where he is living. The sheriff has said the Marinellos were in the middle of a contentious divorce and that Mary Marinello had been arrested last month on charges of domestic abuse battery.

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Vince Marinello and his lawyer were at the home during Wednesday night's search but did not talk to media. Jefferson Parish authorities said Marinello was cooperating with investigators.

Lee said he couldn't say what they found there because the search affidavit was sealed.

He said he revealed that the killing was believed to have been planned so he could assure residents of Old Metairie, an upscale, low-crime neighborhood in suburban New Orleans, that a crazed killer was not on the loose.

The New Orleans area has struggled with crime and violence since Hurricane Katrina hit just over a year ago. The city's post-Katrina population dropped by about half to 220,000, yet New Orleans' murder toll hit 93 after a deadly Labor Day weekend. There has also been a spike in violence in the suburbs. Jefferson Parish had counted 40 murders by Tuesday, compared to 26 at the same time last year.

Marinello, a former television sportscaster, most recently has been hosting talk shows on WWL radio dealing with the recovery from Hurricane Katrina.