A Massachusetts man who murdered his wife in Vermont was ordered to remain behind bars for the rest of his life. But, now, a new plea deal could set him free in months.
After spending more than three decades behind bars, Gregory Fitzgerald’s sentence was reduced to 35 years to life. The move by the state attorney’s office stemmed from the defendant’s claim that his defense attorney neglected to inform him about a plea deal that would have reduced his sentence at the time of the initial trial.
In 1994, the 64-year-old convict was found guilty and convicted by a Vermont jury for the first-degree murder of his wife, Amy Fitzgerald. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. At the time, the couple had been attending separate higher institutions for their graduate degrees. Amy Fitzgerald’s body was found lying in the bathtub of their Shelburne, Vermont, home in May 1993.
An autopsy report showed the cause of death was asphyxiation.
The case led investigators along a twisted path that revealed the defendant had been living a double life. Gregory Fitzgerald was supposed to be studying at the University of Texas in San Antonio. However, the defendant had been kicked out of school and living with a 22-year-old girlfriend when he flew to Vermont to kill his wife.
Faced with the reality of Fitzgerald being released in the coming weeks has rattled the victim’s family, who expressed their frustration at the development. The victim’s brother, Alan Zeltserman, described the defendant as a master manipulator who has figured a way out of prison.
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“She was an Army captain and veteran of the Persian Gulf War who was studying health technology at the University of Vermont and was on her way up the ranks in the Army," said Zeltserman, according to the Associated Press.
Prosecutors had no way of knowing if Fitzgerald knew about the earlier deal. However, to avoid another appeal, the Chittenden County state attorney settled with the defendant on the condition he drops all other appeals in the future and accepts responsibility for the murder.
“I’m just completely tired and devastated, and extremely disappointed in the state’s attorney’s office with the way this matter was handled. It’s just a horrible feeling,” said Zeltserman, according to Associaed Press.
Fitzgerald is currently serving his prison sentence at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vermont.
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