Western New Jersey

Ex-girlfriend of convicted murderer Thor Frey is surprise witness at his retrial

Robin O'Grady takes the stand Tuesday for the prosecution

BELVIDERE, N.J. - The ex-girlfriend of a man convicted in the murder of a Warren Co., N.J., woman seven years ago was a surprise witness for the prosecution at his retrial.

Robin O'Grady testified -- often tearfully -- for almost an hour Tuesday morning about what Thor Frey told her concerning the robbery and death of 75-year-old Mary Bostian of Phillipsburg in 2006.

Prosecutor Kelly Shelton delayed announcing O'Grady's appearance Tuesday morning until just after court convened, but before the jury was seated.

After a 15-minute hearing with O'Grady in the witness box, Judge Ann R. Bartlett decided the jury could hear O'Grady's testimony. She also gave defense attorney Michael Priarone some time to confer in private with Frey.

Before O'Grady took the stand again, Judge Bartlett told the prosecution that the jury should be treated "with more respect," adding jurors should not have to wait in a small room for almost two hours past the time they were told to report.

Shelton apologized for the delay, but said O'Grady's appearance was kept under wraps because "the witness had concerns for her safety."

O'Grady testified that when Frey returned to their home on Market Street in Bangor, Northampton Co., in the early morning hours of Aug. 18, 2006 -- the day of Bostian's murder -- 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."

Authorities said Frey and O'Grady's ex-husband, Donald O'Grady Jr., bound and suffocated Bostian while stealing a safe Bostian's son had filled with $25,000 in cash and coins.

Robin O'Grady said she turned over the $800 to police on Aug. 25, and allowed her home to be searched.

Under cross-examination by Priarone, O'Grady admitted she has served three years in state prison on drugs charges, and became emotional answering 'no' after Priarone asked if her son, Donald O'Grady III, was "in some kind of trouble now."

O'Grady also denied Priarone's suggestion that she turned over the $800 to investigators on Aug. 25 only because police were reading her her Miranda rights. "How was I culpable?" she asked.

O'Grady admitted, however, that she began to drink after Frey returned home on Aug. 18, and that her Aug. 25 statement to police was, in Priarone's words, "a montage of rumors on the street and other statements," as well as what she was told by Frey.

After Priarone finished, Shelton asked O'Grady why she was so upset.

"Because I loved him [Frey]," she replied, fighting back the tears. "We were supposed to be together, and then all of this happened."

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