• BREAKING NEWS Shelter in place lifted after prisoner captured

DNA results lead to release of John Grega

John Grega, 50, formerly of Lake Grove, N.Y., was released around 5 p.m., corrections officials said. He had been serving a sentence of life without parole for the sexual assault and strangulation death of his wife, Christine Grega, while they were vacationing at a West Dover condominium nearly 18 years ago. (Len Emery Photo)
August 23, 2012 2:25:32 PM PDT
A Long Island man convicted in 1995 of killing his wife while on vacation in Vermont was released from prison Wednesday, a day after a judge vacated his sentence and ordered a new trial because DNA from an unknown man was found on her body.

John Grega, 50, was convicted of killing his wife while they vacationed in Vermont in 1994.

DNA evidence has raised questions about his guilt and he's being given a new trial.

On his first day of freedom in nearly two decades, John Grega says he took a run around the neighborhood, jumped in a pool, watched the sun come up and smoked a cigar.

"I'm just happy to be home with my mom and family. It hasn't sunk in yet," said John Grega, Ronkonkoma resident.

John Grega is still adjusting to the fact that after 18 years he's not walking around a jail cell.

It was an emotional reunion Wednesday when Grega walked out of a prison in Vermont.

A judge threw out his murder conviction and ordered a new trial after new DNA testing pointed to Grega's possible innocence.

He was serving a life sentence without parole.

"It's almost like it was a dream, like it happened and he never left," said Marion Grega, John's mother.

Grega was convicted of raping and killing his wife Christine Grega of Ozone Park, Queens while they were on vacation in Vermont in 1994.

Grega always said he was innocent.

New DNA testing showed that DNA found on Christine Grega's body belonged to that of an unknown man, not John Grega.

"Hate is not in my heart over this. You can't do that kind of time it's like cancer it would eat you up," Grega said.

"Are you angry?" Eyewitness News asked.

"I was at first, but like John said it doesn't get you anywhere to be angry," Christine Grega said.

But it does hurt.

John wasn't there when his father John Grega died a few years ago.

But Grega says he's not thinking about the past he just wants to live his life and be with his family.

"For 18 years my family's faith love and support got me through this," John Grega said.

Grega has to check in with the police department.

Another trial has not been scheduled yet.

Eyewitness News stopped by Christine Grega's family's homes in Lynbrook.

They had no comment.

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