Appellate court reverses former Inverness woman's conviction in 1979 murder

  • Jacquelyn Greco

    Jacquelyn Greco

 
 
Updated 7/2/2020 9:16 AM

The Illinois Appellate Court on Tuesday reversed the conviction and ordered a retrial of Jacquelyn Greco, 73, who was found guilty in October 2016 of murdering her husband in the couple's Inverness home.

Greco's husband at the time, Carl Gaimari, 34, was shot to death with his own gun on April 30, 1979. Greco claimed two masked men entered the home, tied up her and three of her four children, locked them in a master bedroom closet and awaited Gaimari's return from work at the Chicago Board of Trade. The couple's 15-year-old daughter returned home to discover the mother and siblings in the closet. Moments later, another daughter discovered Gaimari's body in the basement.

 

Prosecutors said greed motivated Greco and her lover and subsequent husband, who authorities say arranged the home invasion and murder. He has never been charged. The gunmen were never identified and authorities say the investigation remains open.

The investigation went cold until 2013, when Inverness police received permission from Greco's older sister Elsie Fry to tape a phone conversation between the siblings. During that conversation, prosecutors said, Greco implicated herself in Gaimari's murder.

At Greco's trial, Fry testified that two months before Gaimari's death, Greco told her "we found out a way to kill Carl." Fry said she kept silent about the conversation until 1981.

During the tearful, 2013 phone conversation with Fry, Greco proclaimed her innocence, saying "not that I killed him but I knew" and "I would never take my children's father away."

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In their appeal, Greco's attorneys argued that circumstantial evidence showed the couple had attempted to reconcile and that Greco had "withdrawn from the plan to kill her husband." They said the trial court's decision not to instruct jurors on that defense was an error.

The justices agreed, stating, "A defendant in a criminal case is entitled to have the jury instructed on any legally recognized defense theory which has some foundation in the evidence, however tenuous."

No court date has been set.

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