WILKES-BARRE, Pa. --An 86-year-old grandma entered a last-minute plea agreement in Luzerne County court. Helen Galli was accused of poisoning her son’s then-girlfriend with anti-freeze.
The victim, Dawn Simyan, said she’s happy this is all over.
“I'm satisfied. I have no more to say. Thank you,” Simyan said as she walked out of court. She is the one prosecutors said was given poison by Helen Galli in 2011. Galli was accused of putting anti-freeze into Simyan’s juice.
The now 86-year-old Galli was sentenced to three years, three months home confinement with credit for 1,000 days served. It essentially works out to be six months at home.
Both Simyan and Galli were relieved to have this case behind them.
“When the victim is satisfied and you're able to bring closure and still hold the defendant accountable, I think that's a victory,” Prosecutor Tony Ross said.
“My client is 86 years old. She spent 1,000 days in prison and just the ordeal of having to go through another trial, it would've been really tough on her,” defense attorney Al Flora said.
Galli was found guilty in 2013 and sentenced to up to 12 years in prison. She was granted bail in 2016 after serving two and a half years in jail and given a retrial after a judge ruled that Galli's orginial defense attorney was ineffective.
“The critical piece of evidence from the first case was a hearsay statement from Victor Galli, ‘drink this, my mom said it'll make you feel better,’” Ross said.
“There's no question we would be able to keep out that hearsay evidence. I filed an appropriate motion to keep out all of that evidence, which had originally been ruled inadmissible,” Flora said.
“It being evident that the hearsay statement wasn't going to be introduced in this subsequent trial it weakened the case and presented a much more difficult case for us,” Ross said.
Galli has to pay $3,500 restitution to Simyan. She also cannot contact Simyan.