School Closings And Delays

Jury Deliberating In Luzerne County Poisoning Case

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WILKES-BARRE — A jury in Luzerne County is deliberating the case of a grandmother accused of poisoning and nearly killing a woman with antifreeze.

That jury heard testimony from the victim and others. A prosecutor even poured out a glass of juice mixed with antifreeze in the courtroom but Helen Galli did not take the stand in her own defense.

Galli, 81, from Wyoming in Luzerne County sat quietly through closing arguments Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutors say Galli poisoned her son’s girlfriend with a drink spiked with antifreeze in 2010.

They say Galli considered that girlfriend a threat to Galli’s family and she wanted a piece of a million dollar natural gas lease that Galli’s son had just received.

Galli’s son Victor took the stand again, defending his mother.

Helen Galli’s attorneys took aim at the victim in this case, calling Dawn Simyan a “gold digger” and “perpetually drunk” and claiming she poisoned herself to get attention and to get money.

Simyan’s ex-husband and his current wife testified for the defense saying Simyan showed up at their home drunk last month smashing a glass window and threatening to kill everyone inside.

The defense says Simyan poisoned herself for attention and she’s already filed a lawsuit against Helen Galli and her ex-boyfriend Victor Galli to pay for more than $90,000 of medical bills from the alleged poisoning.

The jury did not hear about Helen Galli’s previous run in with the law. More than 20 years ago, Galli pleaded guilty to arson charges, accused of convincing her grandchildren to burn down their parents’ house.

Galli was sentenced to house arrest in that case.

The judge in this case banned lawyers from talking about it.

The jury is deliberating charges of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment against Galli.

If found guilty, she could face jail time.