BELVIDERE, N.J. - Thor Frey is a convicted murderer for a second time.
A jury found Frey guilty of felony murder and three other charges Wednesday afternoon in connection with the 2006 beating and suffocation death of Mary Bostian in her Phillipsburg, Warren Co., home and the stealing of a safe with $25,000 in cash and coins owned by her son.
Frey seemed nervous while the jury announced the verdicts, but he did not show any outward emotion.
Family members and friends of both the defendant and the victim were in the courtroom for the jury's decisions on the charges of felony murder, robbery, burglary and criminal mischief against Frey.
Before the Judge Ann R. Bartlett asked for the verdicts, Frey's mother, Carol Ehrie, had her eyes closed and her hands folded in prayer.
When the verdicts were announced, Ehrie said, "Justice has never been done in this courtroom," and then began to sob as one of the people accompanying her held her in her arms.
Bostian's daughter, Tracy Miller, and Bostian's neighbor, friend and companion, Steve Horvath, who found Bostian's body on Aug. 18, 2006, also were on hand.
As each of the verdicts was announced, Miller gasped with relief.
Later, outside the Warren County Courthouse, Miller said going through two trials "was like a nightmare that never ends. Hopefully this time it's over."
Miller was accompanied by District Attorney Richard Burke, who said the jury's decision was "a great day for Warren County" and brings to an end a "long ordeal" that has lasted many years.
He praised the work of prosecuting attorney Kelly Shelton, and the jury for doing a job under what he called difficult circumstances -- "It was a circumstantial case. ... There was no smoking gun, so to speak."
Frey's attorney, Michael Priarone, and members of Frey's family were asked for a statement by WFMZ.com, but they declined.
Frey's retrial began on Jan. 2. Shelton called 23 witnesses and took several days to build her case. Priarone called only two witnesses and presented his case in less than half an hour.
The jury began its deliberations last Friday, and after having the weekend off, spent the last three days going over testimony.
The most critical issue facing the jury involved the robbery charge against Frey, who did not take the stand at the retrial. If the jurors found him not guilty on that charge, they could not have convicted him of felony murder.
Priarone tried to convince the jury that Frey could not be guilty of robbery because he never was inside Biostian's home, but was passed out drunk on the lawn outside while an accomplice, Donald O'Grady Jr., was stealing the safe and murdering Bostian.
But the prosecution hammered home the fact that a medallion with a Thor's hammer design on it was found on the first floor of Bostian's home just hours after she was killed, and that it was the same medallion that Frey's ex-wife, Naomi Frey, had given to Frey through Frey's sister.
Judge Ann R. Bartlett said Frey will be sentenced on March 1.
When Frey was convicted in 2009, he was given a 40-year sentence.
Allentown, PA 18102
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