Dover seeks dismissal of Grega lawsuit
By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | September 01,2014
BRATTLEBORO — The town of Dover has asked that the lawsuit filed against it by John Grega relating to the murder investigation into the death of his wife 20 years ago be dismissed.
In a motion filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, attorneys for Dover said Grega’s complaint was short on facts.
Grega, in a lawsuit filed last month against police and prosecutors, claimed he was “falsely arrested, convicted and imprisoned” for the murder of his wife Christine Grega.
Grega, who has not been exonerated, saw his 1996 conviction vacated two years ago after DNA testing (the first in the case) revealed the presence of a mystery man’s DNA in his wife’s body. A new trial was ordered. But the second round of murder charges was dropped a year ago because of problems with a second round of DNA testing.
Dover police officers were the first law enforcement on the scene after John Grega called 911 from a neighboring condominium after he returned to the couple’s borrowed West Dover apartment and discovered his wife’s lifeless body in a bathtub.
In addition to the town of Dover, Grega has sued three members of Vermont State Police and then-Windham County State’s Attorney Dan M. Davis, who prosecuted him.
In the motion filed by the town’s law firm of McNeil, Leddy and Sheahan, Dover said only two counts of the 54-page complaint filed by Grega’s attorneys were directed at the town. The two counts allege a failure on the part of the town to train and supervise its police officers, and that the town “breached a duty” to train and supervise its officers about how to conduct a proper criminal investigation.
The town claimed in its motion there weren’t enough facts contained in Grega’s lawsuit “to render the underlying legal theory plausible.”
“The claim against the town must be dismissed; it offers no factual support to demonstrate that any action attributable to a town police officer arose out of an alleged unconstitutional municipal policy, practice or procedure.”
And Dover’s motion noted that to hold a town liable, Grega must establish “that the municipality itself was somehow at fault.”
“Even if plaintiff could be said to have alleged a violation of his constitutional rights by an individual town police officer, he has failed to allege any facts which would demonstrate that the violation arose as a result of any official town policy, practice or procedure attributable to a town policy maker,” the Dover motion stated.
The other defendants in the lawsuit, Davis, and Vermont State Police detectives William Pettengill, Glenn Cutting and Richard Holden, have not yet filed responses to the Grega lawsuit, according to the court docket. They are being represented by the attorney general’s office.