Today’s news:

Bloody Clinton Street death an accident abetted by illness, husband claims

The Brooklyn Paper

A Carroll Gardens woman who died Saturday after she was found bloody and unconscious in her Clinton Street brownstone fell and hit her head on the kitchen floor because she was weak from illness, according to her husband.

Gaetano Lisco told The Brooklyn Paper that Elizabeth Borst, his wife of 27 years, suffered from an autoimmune blood-clotting disease called antiphospholipid syndrome that left her in severely poor health in the days before her death.

“I feared everyday that this would happen,” said Lisco, who was taken in for questioning and released without charges by cops at the 76th Precinct on Saturday night. “Sometimes I would come home and I would find that she fell on the floor unable to stand up.”

Lisco, an actor and waiter, claims his 55-year-old wife, a former New York Post assistant editorial page editor, was in such bad shape that he had to help her up when she fell earlier on Friday before he left for his shift at a Manhattan restaurant.

“She’s been suffering for many years,” said Lisco, adding that Borst — who he described as a heavy drinker on anti-anxiety drugs and medication to reduce the risk of blood clotting — barely ate during her last three days. “She was extremely weak over the last two weeks.”

Lisco, 55, claims he last spoke to Borst when he called her at about 4 pm on Friday, and grew frantic when she didn’t pick up multiple times later that night.

Concerned about her well-being, Lisco says he called in a favor from a Court Street deli clerk named Valentino, who found Borst’s body on the kitchen floor next to a shattered bottle of vodka at around 10:30 pm.

“He was very scared. There was blood everywhere,” said a trembling Lisco, who claims he regularly left the front door of the home near Sackett Street unlocked so neighbors and Valentino could check on his wife at his request. “She was most likely lying there in a coma for five hours and lost a lot of blood.”

Valentino didn’t know if Borst was conscious, so Lisco claims he called a tenant in the building for help.

Tenants in Lisco’s building did not answer their doors on Sunday, and the bodega worker was not at his store on Monday, but a worker at the shop said employees have been delivering groceries to the home for ten years.

Police responded to a 911 call from a tenant in Lisco’s building and found Borst with a severe head wound. Emergency workers on the scene rushed Borst to Long Island College Hospital, where she died at 4:30 am.

“She died with her beautiful eyes open still looking at me,” said Lisco as he broke down in tears. “I’m devastated.”

Cops are still investigating the case to determine if Borst was the victim of a murder.

An initial autopsy conducted by the Medical Examiner’s Office came back inconclusive, a spokeswoman said. A toxicologist will examine blood and take tissue samples to determine a cause of death, which may not be known for another two weeks, she said.

Neighbors were shocked when they heard the news and saw their low-key street turn into a taped-off crime scene.

“This is a very quiet neighborhood,” said longtime Clinton Street resident Al Sirico. “It looked like a scene out of ‘Law and Order.’ ”

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

Pat I. from 70's brooklyn says:
Clinton Street was - even when I had a cinderella license - a drag strip for overzealous gearheads trying to hit all the green lights all the way up to Atlantic.

My condolences to the family.
Feb. 26, 2013, 6:08 pm
j* from Dumbo says:
Jim Fisher True Crime: Gaetano Lisco and the Suspicious ... days ago – Welcome to the Jim Fisher True Crime blog, a place for people interested in crime, ...

Elizabeth Borst to Sharon Byrn

October 7th 2012

"Oh Sharon, I'am so down and demoralized. Gaetano attacked me when he came home Friday night.

I had such a good day and finally got out for a nice meal with my friend.

My hairdresser gave me a shot of tequila and it made me feel so calm and warm inside.

I bought a good bottle on sale at the store.

I thought I would save money on wine because it only takes a little bit to feel good.

Gaetano came home and saw it on the counter and threw a fit and took it away and hid it.

I tolled him to put it the —— back.

He pour the whole bottle down the sink then he came after me and grabbed my hair and I screamed.

No not the hair.

Then he started punching me in the face brutally, and I could not escape.

My eye is all black and blue, and some hair came out if the brush from his pulling it.

He broke a crown.

That's another $1,800.00.

He was absolutely vicious and out of control.

When he saw what he done, he was full of sorry and I love you's, but that's the cycle of abuse.

I could not call the police on him and have him sent to jail because we depend on his salary.

He said what are you going to do when I'm in jail, and I said kill myself.

I was so traumatized.

He said what's going to become of the cats, which we both love dearly.

I'm insisting he go to anger management with the other criminals.

I just feel so depressed.

I was really taking care of my looks and now I look so ULGY and miserable and will not go out for weeks.

I'am on blood thinners and bruse very badly.

I took the empty heavy bottle out of the garbage and tried to hit him over the head with it when he was in bed, but his his reflexes were too quick.

Just as well, because at that moment, I could have killed him.

He called me from work last night and tolled me he felt so terrible, he could hardly work and had no self esteem.

I was so upset, I did not eat all day, until he came home and heated up a can of chicken noodle soup.

It was rainy and chilly today and I took a Xanax nap.

When I'm this upset, I can't sleep without Xanax and I was down and exhausted.

Sorry to burden you with this, but I'm feeling so low."
March 10, 2013, 5:31 pm
J* from DUMBO says:

Elizabeth Borst to Sharon Byrn​​

November 6, 2012

Hi, how are you feeling today?

I emotionally feel like ——.

I went to the dentist today and he cemented in the bridge with temporary cement because my teeth had shifted a little.

The bridge is too large but thought he would file it down when I go back next week.

But he has to make a new one.

Gaetano was so mean and out of control and called me a ——er and stupid piece of —— and that I look like I had a horse mouth and he wasn't staying with me looking like this.

He was so abusive and when he came need me I had to kick him in the balls.

Thank goodness the handyman was here or who knows what he would have done.

It's easily fixable.

I truly get intimidated and frighten and full of hate for him when he loses it.

And it is his fault for punching me that my tooth broke.

Son of a xxxx!

I feel so devastated.

Elizabeth Borst to Sharon Byrn​​

December 18, 2012

Thanks for checking in.

I was too devastated to write today.

The son of a xxxx of my husband attack me today.

He pulled out a small clump of hair that left my head bleeding and gave me a black eye.

He is always very sorry after but the abuse goes on.

I tolled him if he did not go to anger management classes I would call the Police the next time and the Judge would order him to go plus jail time.

I really don't want to see him go to jail I depend on him for so many things, but these outbursts have to stop.

Well I'm too depressed and traumatized to talk about it act more

My "BEST FRIEND" is gone. Elizabeth did file a 76 th Precint
"Harassment" report as I advise her. Gaetano Lisco retaliated and alleged to Detective Wilson that I threaten his life.
Classic abuser to try to alienate everyone from her. I would walk from Dumbo with my two dogs to console her.
Lynn the 388 Clinton Street Townhouse Board manager, retired school teacher, also has a Golden Retriver. She was
surprise to see Elizabeth sitting with me on 388 Clinton steps. Why? She called her Rapunzel as she rarely came out or had visitors. During this time I met Maureen McCormick and she was challenged with her husbands cancer.
What happen in Apt 5 is no mystery as Elizabeth was always brutally attack from Miami's Costa Brava, 11 Island Ave, Penthouse to Brooklyn's Apt 5 at 388 Clinton Street, Brooklyn.
May God have mercy on Gaetano Lisco's soul! Elizabeth always said, "Jason, don't let him get away with it!"
March 10, 2013, 6:11 pm
Toni Taylor says:
May you rest in peace, and may justice be served Betsy!
March 10, 2013, 6:39 pm
Squillions from Dublin says:
I only knew of the physical abuse in the marriage after Elizabeth's death, and the knowledge came to me by heresay. Sadly, the news didn't surprise me, based on things Elizabeth had hinted at in our correspondence.

I have been an abused spouse, and it's a terribly difficult thing to deal with. Abusers tend to be charming and cunning, taking control of their victims over time and slowly reaching a crescendo. You either get out, or you don't.

The act of cleaning up the scene and disposing of not only the articles used in cleaning but also the victims''s cell phone, speaks volumes about Gaetano's complicity in the matter. Whether of not death was his intention, it was the outcome, and it appears to have been the outcome of a particularly violent event.

I can't help but wonder if he was using Elizabeth's prescribed medications at an off-label dosage in order to keep her weak and dependent upon him for her daily needs. I anxiously await the results of the toxicology and other biological reports.
March 10, 2013, 6:43 pm
Monica Taylor says:
May you fly with the angels dear one, and may justice be served QUICKLY and ACCORDINGLY
March 10, 2013, 7:18 pm
Libby from Indiana says:
I hadn't known about the abuse prior to her death but I am not surprised. We don't yet know what really happened the Elizabeth in her last hours but we owe it to her to find out. I want to truth to come out and for Elizabeth to have the justice that she deserves. Elizabeth has a lot of friends who care and want to be sure that the truth of what happened to her is established. This is nothing more than what we all would expect if we were in her place.
March 10, 2013, 8:10 pm
Susan from brkyn says:
I know all about abuse and just reading about poor Elizabeth 's death.....put up a red flag !!.....I cant get over how criminals get away with abusing people...yes men and women are subjected to this !! How they let me out loose to the public doesnt surprise me either !! Scary for every human being !! I pray for justice to be served !! and for this problem in the world to end !! this is no way to live in fear ! ..I pray the new laws for abuse will start a process asap for future victims !
March 10, 2013, 8:47 pm
Sharon Byrn from Orlando, Fl says:
I'm one of her friends who knew about the abuse. She wrote to me about it. I just wish we had'nt lived so far away from each other. She could have stayed with us. I really miss hearing from her, as we kept in touch daily. She was a very kind and sweet person.
March 10, 2013, 10:26 pm
A friend from New York says:
Massive liver failure does'nt explain a ruptured spleen, broken arm, and broken ribs.
April 14, 2013, 7:31 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.