TOMS RIVER – Christopher Gregor, the man charged with murdering his six-year-old son, Corey Micciolo, in Barnegat, was recently denied bail.
Both the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and Gregor’s defense counsel, Mario Gallucci, appeared remotely before Judge Michael Collins in Ocean County Superior Court.
Due to continuing COVID-19 restrictions, Gregor listened to the detention hearing from the Ocean County Jail. After the court acknowledged Gregor’s presence, his image was reduced to a small square on the screen for the balance of the proceedings.
Corey’s mother and grandmother, Breanna and Rebecca Micciolo, sat in the front row of the courtroom with family and victim’s advocates offering them support. The two had hoped to get an in-person view of the man they believe took their loved one’s life.
“I wanted to see Chris as afraid as he made Corey,” said Breanna before the hearing. “The Prosecutor’s office told me Corey had two lacerations to his heart. My son died of a broken heart.”
No one from Gregor’s family appeared in the courtroom to listen to the proceedings. Breanna said they were also not at Corey’s funeral. She does not know if they visit his gravesite.
Assistant Prosecutor Lynn Juan outlined the reasons the state requested that Gregor be held in custody. She referenced several points contained in a 22-page Affidavit of Cause, including two separate expert reports that found Gregor’s son died as a result of blunt force trauma on April 2, 2021.
Gregor was first arrested on July 9, 2021, for child endangerment and released on bail. Those charges were based on a video documenting a treadmill incident that occurred in the Atlantic Heights clubhouse where Gregor resided.
Corey’s mother said her son’s father sped up the treadmill to punish him even after he fell multiple times. According to Breanna, the little boy also said his dad called him “fat.”
“The defendant’s actions in this case can be described as nothing short of horrific, callous and abusive,” Juan stated. “…It’s important to note that the victim is a six-year-old child, while the defendant on the other hand, is a 29-year-old adult male.”
“On April 2, 2021, the victim sustained traumatic blunt force injuries to his body, specifically blunt force injuries to his chest and abdomen,” continued Juan. “Resulting in a laceration of his heart, a left pulmonary contusion and lacerations, as well as contusions to his liver.”
According to the timeline presented by Juan, Breanna dropped off Corey at his father’s Barnegat apartment at approximately 9 a.m. on the morning of his death. Gregor allegedly told more than one person that his son was fine when he arrived at his home.
“He told one female friend that the victim was acting quiet,” said Juan. “At no time does the defendant say that the child is ill, loopy, drunk, or stumbling around.”
Within a few hours, Gregor brought Corey to the hospital, where the child began having seizures and suffered from cardiac arrest. He ultimately died from his injuries.
Dr. Thomas Andrew, a forensic pathologist from New Hampshire, estimated the traumatic injuries that caused Corey’s death occurred between four and twelve hours before he died.
“The victim in this case is the defendant’s son,” Juan reminded. “The defendant should have been looking out for his child. He should have been caring for him. He should have been helping him to grow into a healthy young man.
“And instead, this defendant was abusing his son,” continued Juan. “The defendant was hurting him. He was hitting him, choking him, and subjecting this victim, his own child – to ongoing abuse.”
Juan said that if Gregor is found guilty of the charges brought against him, he could be subjected to a life sentence. The assistant prosecutor said that alone made the defendant a flight risk in addition to his actions immediately following his son’s death.
Gregor traveled first to Pennsylvania and then to Arkansas, according to authorities. The search history on his phone showed that he wanted to know if a phone could be found in airplane mode. Other searches included whether a car could be tracked and how long after an autopsy charges are filed.
“He was on the run,” Juan stated. “He was fleeing then, and at that time, this charge had not been lodged.”
Speaking on behalf of his client, Gallucci said that he understood the case to be incredibly sad. He claimed there were numerous DCPP complaints against both parents, with none substantiated.
“What is substantiated is that Christopher did not come into his (Corey’s) life until he was about three years old,” said Gallucci. “That was based on a paternity test requested by CM’s grandmother.”
Gallucci painted a different picture of his client’s involvement with his son, saying that the child had an individualized education program and was grossly over nourished. The defendant’s attorney also said that his client was given custody of the child, who then began to excel in school.
“His blood pressure and cholesterol levels came down to normal ranges,” Gallucci continued.
The defendant’s attorney disputed the consensual recordings of various women who the prosecution referenced in the Affidavit of Probable Cause. He then focused on the expert reports.
“The Medical Examiner of Ocean County found the matter of death to be undetermined,” said Gallucci. “He not only reviewed all the records but actually examined ‘CM.’”
While Gallucci acknowledged he knew the state’s other expert, he pointed out that Dr. Andrew was from New Hampshire and never examined CM but based his opinion on slides and what he called “consensual unconstitutional conversations” with his client in determining the child was the victim of abuse.
Gregor’s attorney also said that the expert witness’ estimation of the timing of the trauma that led to the child’s death included time he was with his mother.
“The prosecution used the trip to Arkansas and Pennsylvania as an example of consciousness of guilt,” said Gallucci. “There’s nobody in this room that can tell us how he was grieving.”
“In addition to that, every single day after CM’s death, his parents, as well as himself were accosted by the other side,” Gallucci continued. “The family, the other side, the mother, the grandmother, not only on the internet and on social media, but in their home with arrests made.”
According to Gallucci, the constant barrage of people harassing the Gregors caused the defendant to leave the home so the abuse against his parents would stop. Gallucci claimed he himself has also experienced harassment as a result of the case.
Gallucci said that his client’s father, David Gregor, is a “highly decorated and retired New Jersey state trooper.” Even after stating the reasons the defendant left his parent’s home, Gallucci asked the judge to release Christopher to their custody on home confinement with a bracelet.
In making his decision to hold Gregor, Judge Collins said that he relied heavily on the medical expert reports. The judge also said he saw the video of the incident on the treadmill and reviewed the searches Gregor made on his phone.
“I’ll be the first to concede that there are a host of ways that one grieves,” said Judge Collins. “One might cry, one might go to the mother of the child even though they had a contentious relationship.
“One might go to one’s family; one might start drinking,” the judge continued. “One might contact all sorts of family members to seek solace in their arms. What they don’t do is say – hey, I’m going to go to Little Rock.”
Soon after Corey’s death, Breanna began a “Justice for Corey” Facebook page that now has nearly 19K followers. Calling themselves, “Corey’s Army,” members of the group have set up demonstrations as recently as one held at the courthouse on the morning of the detention hearing.
Like every defendant, Gregor is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. No trial date has yet been set.