Superior court approves request in Grega case
by Mike Eldred
Jan 03, 2013 | 3180 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BRATTLEBORO- Superior Court Judge John Wesley approved a request to ease John Grega’s conditions of release after a hearing Friday.

In 1995, Grega was convicted of the 1994 sexual assault and murder of his wife, Christine Grega, while the couple and their son were staying at a condominium in Dover. Grega had served 18 years of a life sentence without the possibility of parole when new DNA testing of evidence in the case indicated presence of “unknown male” skin in a swab that had been taken from Christine Grega’s body.

In August 2012, Wesley vacated Grega’s conviction, set the matter for a new trial, and ordered Grega released on a number of conditions, including that he live at his mother’s home in Ronkonkoma, NY, and that he call the Vermont State Police Rockingham Barracks from a landline at his mother’s house twice every day, once between 6 and 7 am, and again between 5 and 6 pm.

On Friday, Grega’s attorney Ian Carleton asked Wesley to eliminate the evening call, so that Grega can go to late afternoon medical appointments, and seek employment.

Carleton cited his client’s record of compliance since his release, as well as his interest in fighting the charges against him.

“Mr. Grega has made every phone call required other than those he was exempt from,” Carleton said. “That includes phone calls through Hurricane Sandy, which were made by cell phone and didn’t technically meet the requirements, but the state was made aware of the situation.”

Carleton said Grega had “heart issues,” and had been diagnosed with a knee injury and had undergone surgery recently, both of which required ongoing medical visits, sometimes scheduled during the afternoon.

“Mr. Grega would also like to seek employment,” Carleton said. “Having to be back at his mother’s house at 5 pm limits his possibilities for employment.”

Carleton said the phone calls were unnecessary to ensure Grega’s appearance in court. “The court must apply the least restrictive conditions to reasonably ensure the defendant’s appearance in court. Mr. Grega has made every appearance, and is invested in pursuing his innocence. If he was interested in absconding, he could be anywhere in the United States by the time for the second phone call.”

Windham County State’s Attorney Tracy Shriver said the condition requiring two phone calls, to which both sides agreed in August, isn’t excessively restrictive. “I don’t think having to call in from a landline is onerous. People charged with far less serious crimes (face stricter conditions). If Mr. Grega were to find a job, of course we would be willing to consider amendments to the conditions. But right now he doesn’t have that.”

Wesley granted Grega’s motion to change his conditions, noting that “The thing most likely to assure his appearance in court is the $75,000 bail. Mr. Grega, at this point, has an awful lot to lose by not appearing in court, and a lot to gain by appearing in court.”

Wesley said the second phone call did little to assure Grega’s continued appearance. “The check-in has the minimal effect of affording the court notice that, if he didn’t check in, there’s a potential danger that he absconded. The court doesn’t believe that two check-ins give additional protection in that regard.”

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