A Vermont judge has relaxed the conditions of release for John Grega, the Lake Ronkonkoma man who served 18 years in prison for his wife's murder before new DNA evidence led a court to vacate his conviction.
Grega no longer will have to use his mother's home phone to check in nightly with Vermont State Police while awaiting a new trial, said Judge John Wesley. Grega still must use the phone to call police every morning between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., Wesley said Friday.
Medical appointments and Grega's effort to find a job made the check-in increasingly difficult, said his lawyer, Ian Carleton. Grega is free on $75,000 bail.
"The court does not believe two check-ins a day give significant protections," Wesley said. "He has an awful lot to lose by not appearing in court, and a lot to gain" by continuing to meet the court's requirements.
Windham County State's Attorney Tracy Shriver argued against relaxing the conditions but said she does not plan to appeal Wesley's ruling.
Grega was convicted less than a year after his wife, Christine, was found dead in a bathroom at a West Dover, Vt., condominium where they were vacationing with their 2-year-old son in 1994.
After years of rejected appeals, DNA tests conducted in May by Vermont's crime lab cast doubt on Grega's conviction. The sample taken from inside Christine Grega's body showed it was from another man. The analysis also ruled out several people who might have contaminated the sample.
Wesley vacated Grega's conviction after prosecutors agreed to a new trial. A trial date has not been set.
With Kevin Deutsch