Woman Accused of Poisoning Granted Bail

WILKES-BARRE -- A woman accused of trying to poison her son's then-girlfriend in Luzerne County was granted bail in Luzerne County Wednesday morning.

Helen Galli, 84, was found guilty in 2013 of trying to poison her son's then-girlfriend Dawn Simyan two years earlier.

Last month, a judge ruled Galli's lawyer was ineffective at her trial. She is now awaiting a new trial.

Galli’s new attorney, Al Flora, convinced the judge to vacate her conviction.

"She spent two and a half years in jail. It's her position that the case should have never been prosecuted in the first place," Flora said.

Flora argued that the attorney who represented Galli at her trial was ineffective because he never argued to throw out part of Simyan's testimony.

Simyan said in court that shortly before she fell ill in 2010, her boyfriend Victor Galli handed her a drink saying, “My mother said, ‘Drink this, it will make you feel better.’”

"All of the evidence they relied on to convict her was basically hearsay evidence. It was not admissible in the first place," said Flora.

Prosecutors say they respect Luzerne County Judge Fred Pierantoni, but they don't think he should have vacated Galli's conviction.

"To overturn a jury verdict, it flies in the face of 12 citizens who sat and listened to the evidence and have made a decision," said First Assistant District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce.

Prosecutors are appealing the judge's ruling that vacated Galli's conviction.

A judge set bail for Galli at $25,000. Her family posted it immediately.


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