An elderly woman in northeastern Pennsylvania is accused of poisoning her son's girlfriend with juice laced with antifreeze in an effort to keep her away from money he was getting from a natural gas company.
Helen Lucy Galli, 79, of Wyoming, Pa., was charged Friday with felony aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
State police in Luzerne County allege that she gave the juice to Dawn Simyan, 41, of Pittston, who was taken to a hospital in April and found to have kidney failure due to ingestion of ethylene glycol, which is found in antifreeze.
Simyan said she was staying at the home of her boyfriend, Victor Galli, 53, in Wyoming on March 31 and drank a glass of juice his mother gave her.
"I started feeling like I had the flu. I was sick to my stomach. I got out of bed and I couldn't stand. My legs were giving out. I fell in the bathtub. As the day went on, I started throwing up on myself. I couldn't breathe," Simyan said.
She spent three weeks in the hospital, she said.
Police said Galli was apparently worried that Simyan would get money that her son had obtained from a natural gas lease in Wyoming County.
Authorities do not believe that her son knew anything about the plot, state police Trooper Tom Kelly said.
"If it was a drop more, I wouldn't be here," Simyan told The Citizens Voice of Wilkes Barre. She said Helen Galli never liked her and "doesn't want anybody with her son, period."
Galli was arraigned Friday and released on $25,000 bail. Asked by reporters about the allegations as she left the hearing, she scoffed at the suggestion that natural gas money was involved but otherwise declined to comment. A call Saturday to her residence seeking comment was answered by a woman who hung up without identifying herself.