Convicted murderer to be released under Sarah George’s guidance while victim’s family in distress

Amy FitzGerald (center)

by Michael Bielawski

A family member of a murder victim is expressing frustration that Vermont State Attorney Sarah George is allowing Gregory FitzGerald, the convicted murderer of his sister, to go free after he received life without parole decades ago.

FitzGerald was convicted of killing his wife Amy FitzGerald by strangulation in 1993. He was sentenced to life without parole the following year for fiirst-degree murder. He is currently slated to be freed into transitional housing once it becomes available via the Pathways to Housing program.

In 1993 Amy FitzGerald’s body was discovered in a condo in Shelburne. She was studying for a master’s degree at the University of Vermont and she was a captain in the U.S. Military.

Her brother speaks with VDC

Her brother, Alan Zeltserman, spoke with VDC on Monday evening, which was Tuesday morning for Zeltserman as he is retired and living in rural Japan.

“Imagine thirty years ago, this horrible, horrible thing happened,” Zeltserman said. “My sister was murdered, and we thought we had closure. We thought that this state, Vermont, had done justice for my sister.”

He said that Goerge’s actions have been devastating.

“For Sarah George to go ahead and undo the justice that was done for our family, they talk about being revictimized, I think I was doubly victimized,” he said.

The killer had a record

During the aftermath of the murder, at first, the family did not consider the husband to be a suspect. Eventually, investigators advised Zeltserman that Gregory FitzGerald may have intended to kill him as well. 

It turned out that FitzGerald was known to authorities for numerous incidents prior to the murder, including threatening people with a gun.

“He has a criminal record and a trooper said that he was glad to see FitzGerald out of Massachusetts because he was really bad news. All of this was news to us,” Zeltserman said.

A questionable case for his freedom

Zeltserman is a retired appellate attorney, he has familiarity with criminal and public defense matters.

He said the main arguments by Fitzgerald regarding his appeal included that he claims that the plea deal including life without parole was never adequately shared with him. Zeltserman said that the Vermont Supreme Court’s findings refute this notion.

“He got that, the Vermont Supreme Court adopted those findings,” he said.

The second argument is that he was not aware that first-degree murder was an offense punishable by life without parole.

Zeltserman questions the message that these actions by George send to the public.

“When you give the message, ‘Oh I really feel sorry for this guy convicted of first-degree murder and I’m going to let him out.’ What kind of message does that give?” he said.

A second murder

Complicating the case against FitzGerald in 1994 was another murder. According to Zeltserman, FitzGerald initially tried to hire an associate Richard Rodriguez to do his sister’s murder. Rodriguez refused but he agreed to be FitzGerald’s driver for him to carry out the murder.

Rodriguez subsequently became a state witness in the case and was set to testify against FitzGerald, but he was then murdered by his girlfriend just two weeks before the trial. FitzGerald was suspected of being involved but no formal connections were ever made by investigators.

Contradicting statements by Sarah George

Zeltserman suggested politics could be at play regarding George’s actions. A bill proposed by Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale, D-Chittenden, introduced in 2021 at the Statehouse calls for doing away with all life without parole sentences.

Zeltserman says that George has made conflicting statements to various media regarding whether her personal views on this issue impacted her handling of this case. She told Seven Days in January of 2022, “I certainly wouldn’t say, ‘No, it didn’t play any part,'” George said. “It’s part of who I am and what I stand for.”

The next day to VtDigger her statements seemed to change. “I would never make it on such a serious case just to fit some agenda,” she said.

That’s not the only misconception Zeltserman says appeared in the media. That same month it had been reported in the Boston Globe that George had kept his family in the loop regarding Fitzgerald’s latest deal.

He said those were false statements. In fact, his family was only notified about the hearing for the deal 24 hours in advance, leaving the family little time to prepare statements or contact the media.

Zeltserman offered these comments to those who voted George into office.

“If a member of your family suffered a terrible, terrible event, God forbid, would you really want Sarah George and her office in charge of that prosecution?”

George has been under much public scrutiny during her time in office. Another high-profile incident involved her attempting to drop charges of murder and attempted murder on the grounds that the perpetrators were insane, a decision that was later rebuked by then State Attorney General TJ Donovan.

The author is a reporter for the Vermont Daily Chronicle

Categories: Crime

35 replies »

  1. I’ve come to expect no different from Ms. George. The people of Burlington will reap what they have sown.

  2. Who ARE these people in charge our our lives?
    Recruited by Satan?

  3. He murdered his wife and he wants to be released because he thinks he wasn’t fully informed of the punishment? Do teachers believe dogs eat homework? If George believes this phony excuse she doesn’t belong in the job. Give me a break. Soft on crime doesn’t even begin to describe this.

  4. I propose that instead of transitional housing for this convicted murderer, he should be welcomed into Ms. George’s home. If she has so much empathy for him, she should be willing to take him in and help him mend his ways. Put your money where your mouth is Ms. George. You are happy to risk public safety – how about renting him a room at your place? You would be ok with that ….right?

  5. Sarah George and the fiends who elected her will one day soon experience karma. It may not be instant as Lennon sang of, but it is a-comin’.

  6. And yet another psychopath elected to public office by Godless leftists: Kesha Ram Hinsdale – two deranged women who vocally believe in “protecting” murderers while simultaneously “protecting” those who MURDER innocent unborn babies.

    May God forgive you. But prepare yourselves should your all-knowing Creator choose not to.

    • By all means, post a current picture of this miscreant. There is no way I would want to met anyone “…released under Sarah George’s guidance…” This is not the same as a “suspect” in a heinous crime, where confidentiality might play a part per-trial. This creep is a convicted murderer. Who in their right mind is going to believe he will not skip out of a halfway house after he’s removed from 24/7 incarceration? ‘Life in Prison without Parole’ is there because of people like him…

    • Picture of what? Aborted babies? The ignoramus Sarah George? Karma? Proof of your Creator? Start with (just because Polaroids didn’t exist 2 thousand years ago):
      1.) The Bible; N.T. & O.T.
      2.) Shroud of Turin
      3.) Miracle of the Sun
      4.) Lourdes
      5.) Fatima
      6.) N.D.E.’s & Bedside Visitations
      7.) Saints & their lives including those within contemporary times
      8.) Eucharistic Miracles

      Then, post a picture of how the above is all “baseless”, OK? That way, we can all be on the “look-out”.

  7. “ A bill proposed by Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale, D-Chittenden, introduced in 2021 at the Statehouse calls for doing away with all life without parole sentences. “ Since Hinsdale & George have such a problem with life without parole, may I suggest two courses of action: First: George should immediately resign and seek employment in the the social worker realm…as that is obviously her desire, NOT prosecuting crime. Second: George and Hinsdale should immediately open their doors and begin offering transitional housing to these poor folks who’ve made a mistake.

    • In a communication to us about five months before FitzGerald’s resentencing, Deputy State’s Attorney Andrew M. Gilbertson listed “conversations occurring in the Vermont Legislature around statutory changes in life-without-parole sentences” as one factor his office was considering in its review of FitzGerald’s post-conviction motion. Both Seven Days and VT Digger had a copy of the communication. I believe that Sarah George told the truth to Seven Days when she said that her opposition to life-without-parole sentencing played a role in her decision to agree to FitzGerald’s resentencing.

      Around the time of my sister’s funeral, FitzGerald tried to get me to go alone with him on two occasions. Each time a police detective intervened. This was before I knew that he was a suspect. At the time, FitzGerald made wild claims to the police that I had killed my sister. It was in this context that a police detective opined that FitzGerald may have been planning to kill me and blame my sister’s murder on me.

  8. You gotta be a moron to not realize ALL the problems and angst in Vermont is generated by democrats. And yet, you still vote for them after they have destroyed so much of the liberty and independence we had 50 years ago. UNBELIEVABLE!

    • Can’t blame our initially-appointed State’s Attorney now, blame only the moonbat voters of Chittenden County who subsequently ELECTED her, despite having a credible and decent opponent in the democrat primary. It’s been a LONG time since I have posted the yardsign of any democrat in my yard, but Ted Kenney didn’t even come close to beating her in the primary. What is wrong with people to vote for such a horrible human being as Sarah George…

  9. Don’t forget there are people who think Biden is doing a great job. Morons are everywhere. It defies logic. You have to admire their ignorance in a way. You can’t fix stupid.

    • Unfortunately, though they are coming on here in increasing numbers, which would be fine except for their sheer arrogance and their abject lack of courage to even attempt to defend ignorant statements – they cut & run like the cowards they are.

  10. If someone was convicted and sent to prison for life without parole, for George to now change that … isn’t that unConstitutional, vis Ex Post Facto???

  11. Well here again we meet an incompetent ! She didn’t go out and pound the pavement. Vermont’s votes were altered, Soros is in Vermont with his dirty money, and people have no idea who they are voting for ! They don’t care and they are ignorant! They get what they deserve! I’m calling out all those Republicans I didn’t see at the poles. Your paper fake ballots were probably lost at the PO!! Wake up!!

  12. We need to organize a protest in front of Sarah George’s office. And this needs to be repeated. Who’s in? Where is her office?

  13. I can think of one win-win-win outcome for this situation but am not allowed to say it in this forum

  14. At this poitwhy don’t we not only legalize murder, but license it. The state would make a ton off me

  15. This is the direct result of Vermont’s Republican committee failing to recruit electable candidates. We did this to ourselves. Demand a change of leadership.

  16. Monday morning quarterbacking, the most boring type of criticism. As I understand it, the state’s attorney’s office agreed to a settlement which vacated the “without opportunity for parole” portion of the original sentence. Would the readers of this publication been happier if the settlement had not been agreed to, with the possibility that the original conviction could have been overturned because of the due process error the defendant was alleging?

    • Someone alleging something is not proof. People can allege anything they want such as being a cat and allowed to releive themselves in a kitty litter box at school. Oh wait, that is actually happening.

    • The plea offer by the state in 1994 was thirty years to life for a guilty plea to second degree murder and FitzGerald could argue to the judge for less time. The Vermont Supreme Court adopted the factual determination of the Vermont Superior Court that FitzGerald WAS told by his attorney that the state offered 30 years to life in exchange for a guilty plea to second degree murder. The Superior Court held that FitzGerald would have rejected the plea and gone to trial even if he were told that he could argue for less time at a plea hearing. (In my view, after the murder of Rodriguez, the state’s key witness, FitzGerald had an incentive to reject the plea and go to trial.) FitzGerald’s second argument was that he was not told by his attorney that first degree murder was punishable by life-without-parole.

      FitzGerald had filed more than 30 post-conviction claims after his conviction. Assuming that the judge did not first find that FitzGerald ran afoul of the successive petition rule or the abuse of writ doctrine, if Sarah George had opted to go forward with a hearing on FitzGerald’s claims, the judge could have made a determination based on FitzGerald’s credibility. FitzGerald, not the state as suggested by Sarah George to WCAX, bore the burden of proof and the burden of persuasion.

      Personally, it has been a terrible ordeal. The only saving grace, if you can call it that, is that my parents are no longer alive to go through this.

      • Pardon a correction — The plea offer by the state in 1994 was thirty years to life for a guilty plea to second degree murder and burglary (FitzGerald stole my sister’s jeep, hid it in a storage facility, stripped off and sold parts, and collected insurance proceeds on his claim that the jeep was stolen), and FitzGerald could argue to the judge for less time. The Vermont Supreme Court adopted the factual determination of the Vermont Superior Court that FitzGerald WAS told by his attorney that the state offered 30 years to life in exchange for a guilty plea to second degree murder and burglary. See In Re Gregory FitzGerald, 2020 VT 14, at 15 n. 4 (VT 2020).

  17. Welcome to the new world order! One world government, one world religion, one world law, and one world in complete control of the despots. All by design. Sarah George, and many more just like her, are compensated for being incompetent and a disgrace to the foundations of law. There are many sitting on the bench just as reprehensible and dispicible. There is no justice in a court of law these days. It is all rigged from the attorneys on both sides up to the judge. The American Bar Association is a joke and infilitrated – funded by dirty, dirty money. It is all funded with dirty, dirty money. The Republic of the United States is captured by installed, belligerent occupiers. Until the country, and this State particularly, is cleaned and sanitized from top to bottom, many more people will be victimized, slaughtered, and no one will be held to account. It is all corrupt.

  18. They want you afraid, and unable to defend yourself. It’s called anarcho-tyranny, and it’s a classic communist tactic of social destruction.

  19. Who elects Progressives like Sara George to Office? Maybe she’s a solid Democrat following her leader’s orders!

  20. Great article, Michael! Sara George’s liberalism is exactly what Governor of California Ronald Reagan told the press in 1969: “Fascism will first come to America in the form of liberalism.” Burlington is becoming a zombie abbatoir festering with rotting bleeding hearts.