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CNN Live Event/Special

Jury Pronounces Greineder Guilty of Murder

Aired June 29, 2001 - 13:10   ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We have just learned that there's a verdict in a case we have been telling you about, that of Dr. Dirk Greineder. The jury has reached a verdict. It is expected to be announced in just a few minutes. This is a live picture of the courtroom. These are his family members, his children, who have stood by him in this case. He is accused of killing his wife Mabel in order to conceal his secret life of prostitutes and Internet pornography, that according to the prosecution.

Today's verdict brings to an end this phase of this case that has captured the nation's attention and CNN Boston bureau chief Bill Delaney now takes us back to the very beginning.


BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In October 1999, 58-year-old Mabel Greineder died of two hammer blows to the head, 10 stab wounds. On an early morning walk at serene Morse's Pond in the leafy, upscale Boston suburb, Wellesley. Her husband, prominent Dr. Dirk Greineder, saying he'd separated briefly from his wife that morning until he found her body.

DR. DIRK GREINEDER: And I squatted down and set myself and I really tried to think of how anyone -- and I thought I was going to -- and she was slipping.

DELANEY: But both the knife and gloves found hidden had Greineder's DNA on them, with blood also in his fingernails, though his hands were clean. The rest of him, from eyeglasses to shoes, the prosecution said, spattered with his wife's blood. The defense argued that blood and DNA evidence could have resulted from another contact, like the doctor trying to pick up the dead woman.

(on camera): The particular intrigue of this case, a respected doctor's secret life, his admission for years he visited prostitutes and Internet pornography sites.

(voice-over): Prosecutors alleging the doctor's fear his wife would reveal his secret life the reason he killed her. Throughout the trial, Greineder's three children insisting he was innocent and that they were part of a loving family.

COLIN GREINEDER: You felt like you had two parents that cared for you no matter what. They loved you no matter what. DELANEY: Colin Greineder, a doctor like his father, saying, too, though, he discovered Internet pornography on his father's computer.

COLIN GREINEDER: My first thought was that I'd just come up and tell him and say, and demand an explanation. But I couldn't, you know, there was no way I was going to do that.

DELANEY: To the end, Dr. Greineder asserting he always loved his wife.

DR. DIRK GREINEDER: Did you consider asking your wife for a divorce?

DR. DIRK GREINEDER: Never. I couldn't imagine living without her.

DELANEY: Potential punishment if found guilty, life in prison without parole.

Bill Delaney, CNN, Boston.


ALLEN: And again, after deliberating for some 24 hours plus, the jury has announced there is a verdict. We expect to hear it in a couple of minutes. We'll bring it to you live. A quick break before then.


ALLEN: Again, a live picture from the courtroom in Dedham, Massachusetts, where we've seen the children of Dr. Dirk Greineder clutching themselves and holding hands in anticipation of the verdict that the jury has reached. He is on trial charged with murdering his wife. The prosecution contends he killed his wife to conceal a secret life of Internet pornography and prostitutes.

We will continue to keep our eye on the courtroom. Here he comes into the courtroom now. This is the doctor, Dirk Greineder, and the jury has deliberated a little over 24 hours before just announcing a short time ago it had reached a verdict.

Let's talk with our legal analyst, Roger Cossack, who's watched this trial. Roger, thanks for being with us. He's in Washington. How strong of a case did the prosecution present here?

ROGER COSSACK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Natalie, they had what appeared to be a very, very strong case. As we've talked about earlier, they had DNA. It looks like the verdict is going to be read. Perhaps we should go back to the courtroom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... Commonwealth. The courtroom, people in the courtroom, of course, have now stood up for the jury to enter the courtroom. We cannot take pictures of the jury, but they are now filing into the courtroom and then we expect Judge Paul Chernoff to come in and take the bench and then ask the jury foreman what the jury's verdict is.

I can tell you that it is naturally a very tense time now, five weeks of trial, sensational testimony at times.

ALLEN: The jury is coming into the courtroom now so we'll just wait and hear from the judge in just a moment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... it is very typical of these moments before a verdict when there's a lot of tension, as you can see...

ALLEN: Roger, while we wait to hear from the judge, go ahead with what you were going to say about the prosecution and their case.

COSSACK: I was just going to say that the prosecution appeared to have a very, very strong case both on DNA and the physical evidence that they were able to find and, of course, with the revealing of the secret life. But one must remember in this case Dirk Greineder was a very and is a very prominent doctor in the Boston area. He's almost world renowned, some would argue.

ALLEN: What kind of doctor is he?

COSSACK: And he had the full support of his children. He's an allergist and a doctor who's very, was very well respected and has the full support of his children, all of whom testified on his behalf. So the question that the jury may be thinking is, and the defense was based upon, was why would a person who is so renowned and so esteemed, even if he had this secret life, why would he go and kill his wife?

JUDGE PAUL CHERNOFF, NORFOLK COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: You probably know that once we take your verdict today, that constitutes your jury duty for this go round and your name will go back in the computer after three years and it may swim around for some time and it's probably likely we'll see you some time within the next decade and we'll be waiting for you.

Mr. Clerk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Foreman, members of the jury, please listen and I will try to explain to you how the court will take your verdict today. Mr. Foreman, I will ask you if the jury has made a final verdict. (OFF-MIKE) after being reviewed, the verdict slip will be returned to you and I am asking, Mr. Foreman, what say ye Mr. Foreman as to indictment number -- and I will read off the indictment. I will then answer, asking whether or not it's guilty or not guilty. You will then answer it and then I will answer as all 12.

Mr. Foreman, members of the jury, have you agreed upon a verdict?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May I have the papers please? What say ye Mr. Foreman as to indictment 108588, Dirk Greineder? Is the defendant guilty or not guilty?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Murder in the first degree. Deliberate and premeditated with malice and forethought.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that the verdict of each and every...

Mr. Foreman and members of the jury, do you each and every one of you agree upon that verdict?


CHERNOFF: Thank you. Members of the jury, you are now discharged from your work as a juror and I thank you very much and I look forward to talking to you in just a few minutes. Thank you.

ALLEN: A very quick ending to a long trial that has had this community holding its breath. Guilty is the verdict for Dr. Dirk Greineder. You saw his children, who, as Roger mentioned, had stood beside him throughout this even terrifying on their father's behalf, sitting there trying not to react. But the verdict is guilty, the jury deciding that he did kill his wife. The government, as we mentioned, had said his verdict, I mean, excuse me, his motive was to conceal his secret life of prostitutes and Internet pornography.

Roger, just before this verdict was read you were telling us about the prosecution's case. Tell us, elaborate on their case. What did they have as far as evidence and how did the defense try and counter that?

COSSACK: Well, Natalie, they had a great deal of evidence in this case, both with DNA -- they found blood under his fingernails, her blood under his fingernails. They found her blood spattered all over him and yet his hands were clean. The prosecution claimed that his hands were clean because of the fact that he had wore gloves, which they found hidden, as well as a knife, which they found hidden.

His alibi was that yes, he was with her until just before the murder. They had taken a walk and then they had both gone their, gone different ways. And just a short time later he found her and he found her dying.

He claimed, he tried to argue that there had been some other murders in that same area where there were other, perhaps this was the work of a serial murderer. In fact, he was, as I indicated, a very respected physician in that area and he had the full support of his children. And I think that his defense really based around the, was based around the idea that, in fact, why would a person like him do such a thing and why would he be able to keep the support of his children?

I must also add that they found some DNA on the knife which was unidentifiable DNA, which was neither Mrs. Greineder's nor Dr. Greineder's and I think the defense tried to claim that perhaps this was the unknown assailant. Obviously, the jury didn't buy into this. He has been convicted of first degree murder. In Massachusetts there is no death penalty. He will receive a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

ALLEN: Well, let's find out more about Dirk Greineder. We just saw some people hugging, it seemed in relief. Let's, Lou is going to talk now with our reporter covering the trial.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Bill Delaney is in our Boston bureau. Bill, this trial had all the elements, sex, violence, murder, but beyond that, why do you imagine it attracted the national attention it did?

DELANEY: Well, Lou, I think the power and the intrigue of this case was who Dr. Greineder was, a renowned allergist living in a town, Wellesley, Massachusetts, about 20 minute, half hour drive from Boston, a town, a leafy suburb where this sort of thing just wasn't supposed to happen.

Morse's Pond, where this brutal act of murder occurred early on a fall Saturday morning is a very serene place. People walk their dogs, people jog. Wellesley just not the sort of place this is supposed to happen and Dr. Dirk Greineder just not the sort of person who's supposed -- who one would believe could commit a crime of such extreme brutality. His three kids, of course, Lou, his three children, that seems to be why they, in the face of, as Roger pointed out, really enormous DNA and physical evidence against their father, why it is that these children brought up in this lovely, affluent community, just found it so hard to believe that their father could have killed their mother.

WATERS: That was a powerful aspect of the story. There they were having lost their mother to a violent murder, defending their father to the hilt, and in that front row every day in support of him.

DELANEY: Well, that's right, Lou. And, of course, in the town of Wellesley itself, an, in fact, throughout Boston, people have been shaking their heads about this case for months. Now, we've seen this thing over the past few years. When O.J. Simpson was first brought to public consciousness no one could believe that he could have had anything to do with an act of violence. He eventually, of course, declared not guilty. A different verdict here. But this has really fascinated and I guess horrified people in and around the Boston area. These sort of things aren't supposed to happen in a place like Wellesley and renowned allergists who live in beautiful houses in tranquil places are not supposed to commit an act of murder this violent.

WATERS: And right up until the last minute, police were being criticized for not investigating these other murders in this area. There was a witness who apparently had a story to tell and that witness was discounted at the last minute. This had all the drama of any major murder trial we've ever witnessed.

DELANEY: Very much so. Again, so much physical evidence, so much DNA and it still became a cliff hanger because of that witness who came out at the very end, a local woman with a history of mental troubles who said she had the, at the time of the murder, sent a fax to local police saying she saw a suspicious man on her property in the hours after the killing. Obviously, the jury decided that her evidence was not sufficient, but throughout what should have been, technically speaking, one could say, and prosecutors certainly did, a pretty open and shut case, it became much more of that because of where it happened, because of who did it and because, as you said, of some surprise witnesses.

WATERS: Roger, do you have something to add here?

COSSACK: Yeah, I think that we, in terms of what the surprise witnesses, he's right, Bill's right, of course, that there was a witness who, at the very end, after the case had been argued, came forward and said that she saw a man standing in her driveway, a jogger that morning, that very same morning, who was sweating and seemed to be out of breath. That evidence, by the way, was never heard by the jury. There was an out of court hearing of which this woman came forward and for whatever reason, the defense attorneys decided not to put this woman up in front of the jury so that they never heard this testimony.

Later on, a gentleman came forward and said no, I was the person that was standing in her driveway that morning. I am a jogger. I just happened to be standing there because this was the house that I grew up in many, many years ago and I just happened to be spending a moment or two. It really was an innocent, it really wasn't anything that was criminal about what I was doing or who I am.

Nevertheless, the jury never heard that testimony. They only heard the testimony that we've been talking about, and there was a great deal of evidence against Dr. Greineder.

WATERS: Yeah, about the, what happens to Dirk Greineder now, Roger? This first degree murder conviction carries life without parole. Is that what he gets automatically? I don't, I'm not familiar with the Massachusetts law.

COSSACK: That's right, Lou. He, there is no death penalty in Massachusetts. He will receive the conviction on first degree murder. He will receive life without possibility of parole.

WATERS: All right. The courtroom is emptying out. I believe that's a defense attorney sitting there at the front of the courtroom. We saw the car pulling away. That was Dirk Greineder's children leaving the area. Those are the people who were in the front row at the trial each day. The trial is over. It ended quickly, as Natalie mentioned, after a lengthy trial, a very quick ending when the jury voted unanimously to convict on first degree murder charges Dr. Dirk Greineder. The trial is over. Life without possibility of parole is the sentence.