Grandmother Found Guilty of Antifreeze Poisoning

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WILKES-BARRE -- A jury found Helen Galli guilty on all counts in a Luzerne County poisoning case.

Galli was found guilty of aggravated assault, simple assault, and reckless endangerment.

The jury deliberated more than four hours before reaching that guilty verdict Thursday.

After a week of wild allegations and name calling in the courtroom, the jury found that there was enough evidence to convict Helen Galli, 81, of poisoning a woman in 2010.

Galli was found guilty of aggravated assault, simple assault, and reckless endangerment.

She did not take the stand but Helen Galli broke her silence after the verdict

"I didn't do it," she said, leaving the courthouse. "She poisoned herself!"

Galli maintained her innocence as her son Victor grabbed her hand and led her away from the Luzerne County Courthouse.

The jury had just found Galli guilty on all three charges filed against the grandmother in 2011.

Prosecutors said Galli was evil and controlling. Her son Victor was caught in the middle of a triangle of jealousy that led to the poisoning.

Prosecutors called him a momma's boy.

His girlfriend at the time, Dawn Simyan, spent weeks in the hospital and had dialysis for kidney failure.

Prosecutors believe Galli spiked Simyan's glass of juice with antifreeze.

Simyan sobbed as she left the courtroom surrounded by family members and prosecutors. During the trial, defense attorneys called Simyan "perpetually drunk" and a "gold digger" who poisoned herself for attention, all in an attempt to get her hands on a million dollar gas lease Victor Galli had just received.

"They had to try and ruin my character. They had nothing else. They knew she was guilty," Simyan said.

Galli's former neighbor Michelle Chmielewski says she's relieved with the guilty verdict.  She testified that Helen Galli repeatedly asked her if she knew someone who would blow up Simyan's car after the poisoning.

"This woman did do this nasty deed to Dawn and that's why I came forward. Nobody deserves to go through what she did," Chmielewski said.

After failing to elude cameras after the verdict, Victor Galli defended his mother outside the courthouse, calling the poisoning a mystery.

"I don't know sir. I don't know. I really don't know (who did the poisoning)."

Galli will remain free on bail until she is sentenced on December 5.


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