WILKES-BARRE — The trial for a woman accused of poisoning her son’s girlfriend with antifreeze began Tuesday in Luzerne County.
Investigators in Luzerne County say the elderly woman wanted to keep the girlfriend away from her son to protect his money and prosecutors say that was the motive in 2010 for her to spike the juice of her son’s girlfriend with antifreeze.
Prosecutors say this was a triangle of jealousy between a mother, her son, and that man’s girlfriend.
The victim says Helen Galli despised her. Galli’s son Victor took the stand Tuesday afternoon defending his mother saying he has no idea how his girlfriend was poisoned with antifreeze.
Helen Galli, 81, tried dodging cameras and questions on day one of a trial for antifreeze poisoning that prosecutors say nearly killed a woman.
Galli sat quietly in the courtroom as she listened to her son Victor testify that he gave his girlfriend a glass of juice from his refrigerator after a night out at the bar in 2010.
Prosecutors say Victor Galli owns a business and at that time had just received a natural gas lease royalty worth nearly $1 million.
But Dawn Simyan says Victor’s fridge was empty that morning. He got the juice from his mother Helen’s house just a few doors down from his house in Wyoming.
Simyan says Helen Galli despised her relationship with her son saying “Victor doesn’t have room in his heart for a woman, only his family.”
Investigators believe the juice was spiked with antifreeze.
Helen Galli was arrested about a year later and charged with aggravated assault.
Within hours of drinking the juice Simyan says she started feeling drunk, then got extremely sick, and struggled to stand or breathe.
After Simyan talked to state police she says Victor threatened her saying, “You are going to put my mom in jail. I don’t think so. I will kill you dead.”
Helen Galli’s former neighbor also took the stand saying she thought Helen was a nice, older woman, until she kept asking that neighbor if she knew anyone who could blow up the car her son’s girlfriend drove.
Helen Galli walked down the same court hallway decades ago. In 1990, Galli pleaded guilty to arson charges. Authorities said she convinced her grandchildren to set fire to their parents’ house.
For that crime, Galli was sentenced to four years of home confinement and 10 years of probation.
Simyan says she has $90,000 in medical bills and she plans on suing Victor and Helen Galli.