The defense attorney of a woman indicted for involuntary manslaughter in the death of her boyfriend is challenging the validity of the grand jury foreman’s signature, according to a motion filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.
Judge Dennis Langer ruled Thursday that a hearing on defense’s motion to dismiss the indictment be held either Sept. 20 or Sept. 29, depending on whether he has a trial happening during the first date.
Jeffrey Gramza, attorney for Jessica Lynn Grieco, disputes the legality of the signatures of a no bill and an indictment signed about 2.5 hours apart on the same day, alleging that they don’t match.
Grieco, 33, was indicted July 26 on counts of involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide and domestic violence for the March 21 death of Peter Underwood, 32.
“A cursory examination by any person, whether trained in the science of handwriting analysis or not, reveals a striking obvious difference,” Gramza wrote in a motion to dismiss the indictment or compel the grand jury to turn over testimony. “Simply stated, the two signatures appear to have been made by two different people.”
Prosecutors responded to Gramza’s accusation with a motion to the court with a signed affidavit from the grand jury foreman, who said she signed both documents. The foreman did not mention why the signatures appear differently.
“Stating that the indictment was ‘illegal’ clearly accused the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office of misconduct,” assistant prosecutor Erin Claypoole wrote, responding to Gramza’s comments during Grieco’s arraignment. “It is disheartening that the defense attorney would make such a serious allegation in open court, on the record, without any effort being made to first discern if his allegation was true or not.”
In his motion, Gramza wrote that the allegations “were not in any way an accusation of misconduct perpetrated by the Prosecutor’s Office.”
Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said Thursday that the foreman just signed two different ways.
“I can’t remember if she used a different hand, if there was an issue with her hand,” Heck said. “I just remember that it was done by her, but it was done by the same person and the same name.”
Gramza also wrote, “Interestingly, the signatures of this same foreman match one another exactly on the Not True Bill, on the other indictments in Counsel’s caseload, on the affidavit attached to the Government’s Response, AND on all of the other indictments examined by Defendant’s Counsel since the discrepancy was discovered.
“The only signature of the foreman that is different from all of the others — blatantly — is the one that appears on Defendant’s indictment in this matter.”
Grieco told a 911 dispatcher she accidentally shot her fiancé while attempting to unload a gun to prevent him from committing suicide. Underwood lived in a home on Claggett Drive in Harrison Twp. where the shooting occurred. He died of a shotgun wound to the chest, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.
“He’s shot in the chest. Get here now!” Grieco yelled during the call. “He’s going to die!”
Grieco repeatedly yelled, “Oh my God!” and said: “I tried to unload it. It went off because he was trying to commit suicide earlier. I had to take a rope from him earlier,” she said in the call, which the Dayton Daily News obtained through a public records request.
Grieco, who has a prior conviction for domestic violence in Butler County, is being held in the Montgomery County Jail on a $1 million bond. Gramza also is seeking a response to his motion for a bond review.
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