BRATTLEBORO -- The man suspected of killing his wife in West Dover while the two were on vacation in 1994 has a new attorney.
Kerry DeWolfe, of the Montpelier law firm Rubin, Kidney, Meyer & DeWolfe, was appointed to John Grega's murder case shortly after his prior attorney, Ian Carleton, removed himself from the case.
On Tuesday, during a scheduling conference in Brattleboro, Carleton asked Judge John Wesley to grant him ad-hoc status with the Vermont Defender General's Office to stay on as Grega's attorney and get paid for his services.
Grega, 50, of Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y., was released on bail last month after new DNA evidence was revealed. Wesley overturned the conviction that had imprisoned Grega for the past 18 years and granted him a new trial.
In a letter from Grega to Wesley, dated Sept. 14, Grega asked the judge to grant Carleton the ad-hoc status because of his distrust of the Defender General's Office when they presided over his case.
Grega claimed someone from the office leaked information about the case to the media without his consent and did little to assist him in his Innocence Protection case which later granted him his freedom after the new DNA evidence was discovered.
He also wrote that one of the attorneys attempted to persuade his family members to convince him to take a plea deal.
Carleton's request was denied after Judge Wesley said that although Grega's case is unusual, it
Vermont's Defender General Matt Valerio told the Reformer that DeWolfe, one of the attorneys contracted with his office as part of the serious felony unit, has many years of experience handling numerous homicide and life in prison cases.
"Mr. Grega has a unique take on the successful resolution of his Innocence Protection case," Valerio said. "His perception is one that members of my office disagree with, but that is his prerogative. There is no information that was reported on in Mr. Grega's case that was not in the public court records and in the press archives."
Valerio said he, Carleton and another attorney from his office, Dawn Matthews, responded to questions from the press based upon the public court filings and that he provided some history regarding the Innocence Protection Act in Vermont.
Even considering Grega's preference of having Carleton proceed with the case, Valerio said he couldn't justly have appointed him as ad-hoc.
"It would have been fiscally and ethically irresponsible of me to have agreed to appoint attorney Carleton when I have six serious felony unit firms already under contract with extensive experience handling murder and other life prison cases," he said.
Grega was scheduled to appear for a scheduling conference in Brattleboro on Sept. 26 to setup a new trial timeline, but that date might not work with DeWolfe's schedule, Valerio said, so the conference may be rescheduled.
Josh Stilts can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311 ext. 273.