- Mark Gokavi Staff Writer
UPDATE (11 a.m. Saturday)
The grand jury foreman whose signature is at the heart of a debate of a woman indicted for the manslaughter of her boyfriend testified Friday that she signs documents in more than one style.
“Yeah, I have multiple ways to sign my name,” the woman said Friday during a hearing in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Dennis Langer’s court.
Jessica Grieco’s attorney has asked the court to pay for a handwriting expert to examine the signatures on both a no true bill and of the indictment that states probable cause that Grieco killed Peter Underwood. Both documents were signed the same day.
Langer did not immediately rule on the defense motion to dismiss the indictment or to see the grand jury voting sheet.
The new defense attorney of a woman indicted for involuntary manslaughter in the death of her boyfriend is continuing a legal challenge against the validity of the grand jury foreman’s signature, according to Montgomery County Common Pleas Court documents.
A hearing is scheduled for Friday afternoon in Judge Dennis Langer’s courtroom in which the grand jury foreman is scheduled to testify about why her signature looks different on two documents signed the same day.
Jessica Lynn Grieco, 34, was indicted July 26 on counts of involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide and domestic violence for the March 21 death of Peter Underwood, 32.
Jeffrey Gramza, Grieco’s former attorney, disputed the legality of the signatures of a no bill and an indictment signed about 2½ hours apart on the same day, alleging that they don’t match.
Grieco’s new attorney, Marshall Lachman, filed a motion Oct. 31 asking prosecutors to disclose the grand jury members responsible for the issuance of the indictment, or, in the alternative, disclose the grand jury vote.
“At issue in this matter is whether the indictment was properly signed and (Grieco) was properly indicted under Ohio law,” Lachman wrote in his motion, adding that the state “should be required to disclose the grand jury voting sheet to confirm that the required seven grand jurors voted in favor of the indictment.”
Lachman also filed a motion for funds for a handwriting expert who is “necessary for a fair and competent defense in this matter.”
Prosecutors haven’t answered either motion in court filings, but Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said earlier that the signatures were from the same person.
“I can’t remember if she used a different hand, if there was an issue with her hand,” Heck said in August. “I just remember that it was done by her, but it was done by the same person and the same name.”
Prosecutors responded to Gramza’s accusation with a motion to the court with a signed affidavit from the grand jury foreman, who said she signed both documents. The foreman did not mention why the signatures appear differently.
Grieco told a 911 dispatcher she accidentally shot her fiancé while attempting to unload a gun to prevent him from committing suicide. Underwood lived in a home on Claggett Drive in Harrison Twp. where the shooting occurred. He died of a shotgun wound to the chest, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.
“He’s shot in the chest. Get here now!” Grieco yelled during the call. “He’s going to die!”
Grieco repeatedly yelled, “Oh my God!” and said: “I tried to unload it. It went off because he was trying to commit suicide earlier. I had to take a rope from him earlier,” she said in the call, which the Dayton Daily News obtained through a public records request.