BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) — Prosecutors have dismissed an aggravated murder charge against a New York man accused of killing his wife in a Vermont condominium while they were vacationing almost two decades ago.
John Grega was convicted of killing his wife, Christine Grega, in Dover in 1994. He was released from prison last August when newly tested DNA evidence suggested that someone else was involved in the killing.
But the state filed a new aggravated murder charge against the 50-year-old Grega. He pleaded not guilty in May.
Windham County state's attorney Tracy Shriver announced Wednesday that the murder charge against Grega would be thrown out because of the challenges of finding a laboratory to do DNA matching of evidence taken from Christine Grega's body, the Rutland Herald reported.
Shriver and Assistant Attorney General Cindy Maguire said in a statement that they "remain committed to continuing this investigation to seek justice for Christine Grega and her family."
In June, a judge rejected a motion filed by John Grega's lawyer to dismiss the case or reduce the charge.
Grega's defense team said Wednesday the state, in dismissing all charges against him, was "finally conceding that it has no basis on which to charge him with the death of his wife." It called the dismissal "long overdue" and "the first step in vindicating Mr. Grega's rights and honoring the memory of his late wife."
Grega's lawyers accused the state of spending "countless taxpayer dollars" trying to build a theory to support its "baseless charges." They said the state's efforts subjected Grega to "another year of anguish" but backfired, "producing yet additional evidence that Christine was murdered by someone else, as Mr. Grega had always maintained."
"It is time for the state to abandon this misguided prosecution once and for all and move on," the lawyers said in an emailed statement.