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NJ v. Christopher Gregor: Treadmill Abuse Murder Case

TOMS RIVER, NJ (Court TV) – Jury deliberations are underway in the trial of a New Jersey father who allegedly forced his six-year-old son to run on a treadmill because he thought the boy was “too fat.” The child later died from injuries believed to have been sustained from chronic abuse.

Christopher Gregor mugshot and portrait of Corey

(L) Christopher Gregor (Orange County Jail, NJ)/(R) Corey Micciolo (Breanna Micciolo)

Christopher Gregor, 32, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and first-degree murder in the death of Corey Micciolo.

In court documents obtained by Court TV, investigators say surveillance footage from the fitness center at Gregor’s apartment complex shows Corey running on a treadmill as his father increases the speed on March 20, 2021. In the video, the boy stumbles and falls several times as he tries to catch up to stay. Gregor is seen grabbing Corey by the shirt, and at one point he appears to bite the child’s head.

Two weeks later, on April 2, Gregor said he took his son to a hospital after the boy woke up from a nap stumbling, slurring his words and experiencing nausea and shortness of breath. Corey was taken for a CT scan, where he suffered seizures. Life-saving measures were taken, but Corey could not be saved.

Dr. Dante Ragusa, an Ocean County medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Corey’s body on April 3, issued a finding of cause of death: blunt force trauma with heart and liver contusions with acute inflammation and sepsis. However, he did not judge the manner of death; rather, he regarded it as ‘indeterminate’.

It was not until a consultant forensic pathologist reviewed the case in September 2021 that the manner of death was determined to be homicide. Dr. Thomas Andrew believes Corey suffered an acute traumatic injury to the heart 4 to 12 hours before his death. Dr. Andrew found what he described as evidence of chronic abuse, including blunt force trauma to the chest and abdomen with laceration of the heart, contusion of the left lung, laceration and contusion of the liver.

Gregor was initially arrested on July 7 for endangering the welfare of a child over the treadmill incident. Authorities said he was “subsequently released as a result of New Jersey bail reform.” He was arrested on March 9, 2022 for Corey’s murder.

Clarification: Gregor was charged in two separate incidents, each involving different charges. The treadmill incident, which resulted in a charge of child endangerment (count 1), occurred on March 20, 2021. On April 2, 2021 (count 2), Corey died from blunt force trauma; there was no treadmill involved. The charge of causing Corey’s death is described as Gregor “knowingly causing serious bodily harm resulting in the death of another.”

Gregor’s defense also hired a consulting forensic pathologist who determined Corey’s manner of death was “natural.” Attorney Mario Gallucci further clarified in a written statement to Court TV that Corey’s death was caused by “complications from pneumonia.”

At the time of his death, the boy’s mother and Gregor shared joint custody. According to reports, Gregor was not present in Corey’s life until he was four. Corey’s mother, Breanna Micciolo, said she reported Gregor for abuse more than 100 times, but no one took action. Breanna has since sued the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency for failing to properly protect Corey.

Gregor, who rejected a 30-year plea deal, is currently being held in the Ocean County Jail without bond. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

DAILY TRIAL UPDATES

DAY 10 – 29/05/24

  • Christopher Gregor’s attorney told the jury that Corey Micciolo died of a “rapidly spreading infection.”
  • Ocean County Prosecutor Christine Lento left few details unmentioned as she led jurors through more than 130 slides, many of which contained a plethora of bullet points or other elements, but by the time she concluded, jurors were certainly reminded once again of a dizzying amount of indirect facts. evidence weighing against Gregor.

DAY 9 – 28/05/24

  • Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden told the Ocean County jury that Corey Micciolo died of natural causes, the most likely complications being pneumonia. This testimony directly contradicted that of the state’s expert witness, Dr. Thomas Andrew, who testified that Corey’s death was a homicide and linked the boy’s injuries to a pattern of physical abuse.
  • The defense rested after Christopher Gregor invoked his right to remain silent in a conversation with Judge Ryan on Tuesday afternoon.

DAY 8 – 22/05/24

  • The state called its last witness Wednesday morning and rested their case shortly before noon.
  • The state’s last witness was pediatric infectious disease specialist Anat R. Feingold, MD, MPH – and the state, apparently anticipating Mario Gallucci’s cross-based impeachment approach – proactively exposed the fact that this was Feingold’s first ever was that he gave expert testimony in court. .
  • The state’s primary goal was to obtain expert testimony proving that infectious diseases were the cause of Corey’s death. This is because Dr. Baden will testify for the defense that Corey died of natural causes – pneumonia and sepsis.
  • For their part, the defense’s purpose in cross-examining Dr. Feingold very clear: hammering home the fact that she is not a forensic pathologist, in an attempt to discredit her testimony about the cause of death (or, in this case, what was not the cause of death).
  • The timing of Dr.’s testimony Feingold was somewhat troublesome, as she had clearly been called in by prosecutors to review the findings of defense expert Dr. Baden as to Corey’s cause and manner of death, but the jury did not do so. heard Dr. Baden’s findings haven’t yet, apart from passing references by Mario Gallucci during opening remarks.

DAY 7 – 16/5/24

  • Sergeant Raymond Coles was called back to the stand and questioned about Gregor’s alleged attempts to escape.
    • Coles testified that Gregor’s phone left the hospital for 24 hours with no attempts to return, and that it was put on airplane mode.
  • Christopher Gregor’s lawyer told Court TV that the defendant plans to take a stand in his own defense.

DAY 6 – 5/15/24

  • Due to scheduling issues, only one witness was called to the witness stand Wednesday: David Gregor, the suspect’s father

DAY 5 – 8/5/24

DAY 4 – 5/7/24

  • Sergeant Raymond Coles testified about Christopher Gregor’s search history. Searches in March and April 2021 included: “Will red spots turn into bruises,” “Can your phone be tracked in airplane mode,” and “Can my car be tracked?”
  • WATCH: Treadmill Abuse Murder Trial: Day 4 Recap

DAY 3 – 5/2/24

  • Dr. Ye Kyaw Aung, who evaluated Corey on the night of April 1, 2021, testified that, aside from some bruises and scratches that varied by degree and age, Corey appeared to be in good health when he was just discharged from Jersey Shore University Medical Center. after midnight on April 2, 2021, with no signs of infection or sepsis.
  • Gregor’s defense asked Aung whether he followed proper procedures in discharging Corey and releasing him to his mother in the early morning hours (around 2 a.m.) of February 4, 2021. Aung maintained that Corey’s blood work and other diagnostic tests came back. was within the normal range and that discharge with instructions for follow-up appointment with a child abuse specialist was the appropriate step.
  • One of the investigators on the case, Sgt. Matthew Scutti, testified at Corey’s autopsy.
  • William Doyle, who worked as a triage nurse at Southern Ocean Medical Center, described seeing Gregor Corey taken to the emergency room on April 2.
  • WATCH: Treadmill Abuse Murder Trial: Day 3 Recap

DAY 2 – 1/5/24

  • Breanna Micciolo returned to the stands. During re-cross, the defense tried to attack her credibility by talking about ways she could have spent money raised through a GoFundMe page.
  • Juror No. 3 was dismissed after a sidebar, but the judge did not explain why.
  • Corey’s first-grade teacher testified that she noticed bruises on Corey and that the child’s behavior at school changed.
    • During cross-examination, the defense tried to say that the bruises did not appear until Corey returned from his mother’s house.
  • Pediatrician Dr. Nancy Deacon, who saw Corey Micciolo for an “emergency appointment” in 2021, testified about the child’s injuries and what he told her happened.
  • WATCH: Treadmill Abuse Murder Trial: Day 2 Recap

DAY 1 – 4/30/24

  • In their opening statement, the prosecution said they would present evidence proving that Corey Micciolo was murdered by his father; specifically, that the six-year-old boy died as a result of physical abuse while in Gregor’s sole care after Breanna Micciolo dropped him off at Gregor’s townhome in Barnegat on April 2, 2021.
  • Attorney Mario Gallucci portrayed Gregor as a responsible father who did his best to care for his son amid ongoing hostilities between Gregor and the boy’s mother, Breanna Micciolo
    • Gallucci tried to brace jurors for surveillance footage they would see Tuesday afternoon, which showed Gregor increasing the speed of the treadmill and forcing Corey back onto the treadmill after falling several times.
    • Gallucci told jurors that Corey Micciolo died of natural causes, citing expert witness Michael Baden, MD
    • WATCH: Gregor Defense: Child injuries came from ‘life-saving techniques’
  • Breanna Micciolo, Corey Micciolo’s mother, took the stand
  • WATCH: Treadmill Abuse Murder Trial: Day 1
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