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Helen Galli is accused of spiking son’s girlfriend’s drink with antifreeze

Last updated: October 08. 2013 11:25PM - 2728 Views
SHEENA DELAZIO sdelazio@timesleader.com



Helen Galli leaves the county courthouse at the end of Tuesday's testimony in her trial in the antifreeze poisoning of her son's girlfriend.
Helen Galli leaves the county courthouse at the end of Tuesday's testimony in her trial in the antifreeze poisoning of her son's girlfriend.
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WILKES-BARRE — Dawn Simyan testified on Tuesday that Helen Galli tried to kill her on March 31, 2010.


Simyan, of Jenkins Township, was then staying at Galli’s son’s apartment and asked Victor Galli to bring her a drink.


He returned from his mother’s home next door with a glass of berry Juicy Juice, Simyan, 44, testified on Tuesday. She said that later that day she became so sick she couldn’t walk.


That glass of juice drink contained antifreeze, investigators allege.


Simyan’s testimony came on the first day of Galli’s trial on aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment charges on allegations she intentionally poisoned Simyan out of jealousy.


Simyan testified she had been out drinking the night before, and had asked if she could stay at Galli’s Wyoming apartment because she was tired.


The nest morning, Victor Galli, 56, was getting ready for work and went to his mother’s home for breakfast. Simyan asked him to return with a drink because he had only water in his refrigerator. Simyan testified Victor Galli returned with a glass of berry Juicy Juice, and she drank two sips and went back to sleep.


Around 11 a.m., Victor Galli returned to his apartment and Simyan woke up and drank the rest of the juice. Simyan said she didn’t have anything to eat and left Galli’s apartment and returned home. She began to feel dizzy as the day went on and eventually began stumbling around her house.


At around 5:30 p.m., Victor Galli arrived at her home and the two had pizza and were watching TV when she was unable to get up to go to the bathroom and had labored breathing.


“I was like a rubber band,” Simyan testified, adding that later she vomited and her son called 911. She was admitted to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, where she stayed for three weeks. Doctors determined she was suffering from ethylene glycol poisoning that required kidney dialysis treatment.


Assistant District Attorney Frank McCabe said in his opening statement that Helen Galli spiked Simyan’s drink because she was jealous Victor Galli was spending more time with Simyan than he was with her, and she also was concerned that Simyan was after her son’s money.


Victor Galli at the time had come into a large sum of money after securing gas leases for property in Wyoming County.


When questioned by Helen Galli’s attorney Joseph Sklarosky Sr., Simyan said she did not poison herself, that she drinks, but does not have an alcohol problem.


Helen Galli’s other attorney, Michael Sklarosky, said in his opening statement that Simyan did not like the close relationship Victor Galli had with his mother and that Simyan often drank in excess and had erratic behavior.


Sklarosky said the defense team does not disagree that Simyan was poisoned, it’s just that their client is not responsible.


“Would a loving mother give her son a glass of poison to bring home (to Simyan) at the risk of having him drink it?” Sklarosky asked jurors.


Victor Galli testified that Simyan did stay at his house, but he did not bring her the glass of juice because Simyan did not wake up until after 11 a.m. It was only then, he testified, that Simyan wanted a drink and that he gave her Juicy Juice.


Victor Galli said he did not poison Simyan. The two were in a loving relationship, he said and his mother was also not responsible.


“She doesn’t belong in jail. She didn’t do anything in his case,” Victor Galli testified.


Testimony continues Wednesday.


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