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Thor Frey jurors re-listening to testimony from medical examiner, Frey's ex-wife and his ex-girlfriend

By Len Righi, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Jan 14 2013 08:03:46 PM CST
BELVIDERE, N.J. -

The jurors in the retrial of convicted murderer Thor Frey heard one of three transcripts they requested read to them on Monday afternoon.

The jury listened for almost a half-hour as a court reporter read testimony provided last Thursday by Dr. Isidore Mihalakis, who was Warren County medical examiner at the time of 75-year-old Mary Bostian's beating and suffocation death in her Phillipsburg home in 2006.

On Tuesday morning, the jurors will re-here what was said on Jan. 3 by Naomi Frey, who was Thor Frey's estranged wife at the time of Bostian's murder, and last Wednesday by Robin O'Grady, who was then Frey's girlfriend.

The jurors are deciding whether to find Frey guilty a second time of four charges, including felony murder, in connection with the Bostian's death.

Frey was convicted on all charges in 2009 and given a 40-year sentence, before being granted a new trial in 2011.

The testimony from Mihalakis, a forensic pathologist who examined Bostian's body at the scene on Aug. 18, 2006, and did an autopsy the next day, was read without the series of photos originally shown to the jury on a widescreen TV as Mihalakis described the injuries to Bostian's body.

Mihalakis said he found eight bruises on the right side of Bostian's rib cage, and that five ribs were fractured.

Most of the testimony from Thor Frey's ex-wife Naomi centered on her purchase of two medallions engraved with Thor's hammer from a mail-order catalog. Investigators found a Thor's hammer medallion in Bastion's living room on the day she was murdered.

O'Grady, who is the ex-wife of Frey's convicted accomplice, Donald O'Grady Jr., tearfully testified that when Frey returned to their home on Market Street in Bangor, Northampton Co., in the early morning hours of Aug. 18, 2006, he gave her about $800 in cash and told her he had robbed for it.
She said she told Frey she did not want to know anything about the crime, to avoid becoming involved. But as Frey watched a newscast about Bostian's death later in the day, O'Grady said Frey told her he had robbed Bostian's home, but "did not hurt the lady."

The jury in went back to work late Monday morning after Judge Bartlett answered two legal questions and figured out a way to get them a magnifying glass.

The six men and six women jurors finally restarted their deliberations at about 11:30 a.m. Monday, about two-and-a-half hours later than anticipated, while Bartlett, prosecutor Kelly Shelton and defense lawyer Michael Priarone debated the language the judge should use in answering the jury's questions.

The jurors were brought into the courtroom at about 11:15 a.m. to hear Bartlett's answers to their three questions.

First, Bartlett told them they could convict Frey of theft, instead of robbery, even if he wasn't inside Bostian's home. (If the jury would convict Frey of theft instead of robbery, he could not be convicted of felony murder.)

Frey admits he helped Donald O'Grady Jr. put a safe with $25,000 in cash and coins stolen from Bostian's home into O'Grady's car in the early morning hours of Aug. 18, 2006. But he maintains he was passed out drunk on the lawn outside Bostian's home while O'Grady was inside.

The jurors' second question dealt with O'Grady. They wanted to know why he was not called as a witness at the retrial, or why a statement from him was not presented.

Officials have gone to great lengths to make sure the jurors are unaware that Frey is being retried, and as part of their strategy, they have kept testimony about O'Grady to a bare minimum. O'Grady is serving a 50-year sentence for his role in the crime.

In answer to the jury's second question, Judge Bartlett restated the four legal tests required to prove that Frey was O'Grady's accomplice in the robbery, adding that if they find Frey only helped O'Grady to move the safe, they must find him not guilty of robbery.

The judge was unable to specifically meet the jury's final request, for a magnifying glass, but after a 10-minute search, court officials came up with a suitable substitute -- a magnifying strip of plastic.

When Bartlett first asked if a magnifying glass was available, Priarone offered, tongue in cheek, "Your Honor, I'll go down to the drugstore and get one if necessary."

No reason was given why the jurors wanted the magnifying glass.

One juror also requested that Judge Bartlett to intervene with his boss, who was asking why he wasn't at work. The judge promised the man a court official would make a call to his employer and vouch that he was part of a jury working on an important case.