Grega appears in court, pleads 'not guilty'

BRATTLEBORO - More than eight months after he walked out of prison due to new DNA evidence, John Grega pleaded not guilty to the latest charges alleging that he murdered his wife in 1994.

The New York man appeared in Windham Superior Court Criminal Division on Thursday as his defense attorneys and Windham County State's Attorney Tracy Shriver continue to prepare for a new trial in the September 1994 death of 31-year-old Christine Grega.

She was killed in a Dover condominium where the couple and their son were vacationing.

Grega, 50, was convicted in 1995 of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated murder, which carried a life sentence without parole.

But new DNA evidence, which was not available at the time of the original trial, surfaced last year and Grega was freed pending a new trial. The testing found the DNA of an unknown male on a swab taken from Christine Grega's body during an autopsy.

Shriver has filed amended murder charges. After Grega's not-guilty plea on Thursday, the suspect - who is living with his mother on Long Island - was ordered to be released on the same conditions that had been imposed last year.

However, he asked for - and was granted - permission to check in with Vermont state police only once a week via phone. Grega had been required to call in daily.

"The court doesn't believe there is any significant risk of flight,"

Judge John Wesley said in granting the request of defense attorney Ian Carleton.

Carleton and Shriver on Thursday also debated the time needed for additional DNA testing of evidence found at the murder scene.

Carleton argued that two months should be sufficient, while Shriver said the state needs at least three months.

Wesley said he would issue a revised schedule for the case "very shortly."


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