Editor’s note: Gregory FitzGerald strangled his wife, Army Capt. Amy FitzGerald, at their Shelburne home in 1993, and was sentenced to life without parole. However, in January 2021 Vermont Superior Court reduced his sentence to 35 years as a result of a civil complaint he filed, claiming his lawyer had not fully informed him of sentencing and plea bargaining offers. His release on furlough is now in works, the victim’s family says.
By Alan Zeltserman
In January, a number of news outlets in Vermont and out-of-state covered the story of the resentencing of Gregory FitzGerald on his conviction of first degree murder in the death of my sister Amy. As you will recall, FitzGerald had been sentenced to life without parole in 1994, but through a resentencing agreement reached with the Chittenden County State’s Attorney he became presently eligible for parole after the awarding of “good time” credits.
Kindly note that I have been informed by Vermont DOC that FitzGerald has been classified as a Level B Offender. With this classification, he is scheduled to begin 6 months of DOC programming in July after which he may be eligible for furlough release to live in the community under DOC supervision. Frankly, with the possibility of furlough release, which we can’t oppose, it makes the question of parole irrelevant for all intents and purposes. The issue will resolve to who supervises FitzGerald as he lives in the community – DOC or the parole board.
On January 11th, one day before FitzGerald’s resentencing hearing, my brother was told in a conference call with Chittenden County Deputy State’s Attorney Andrew Gilbertson and the victim advocate that the plan was for FitzGerald to complete 6-9 months of DOC programming and then be released to live with his sister, who had moved to Brattleboro to await his release. Neither Gilbertson nor the victim advocate explained that furlough for FitzGerald was a possibility – or even what furlough was – to my brother. We were led to believe by the State’s Attorney that we could fight against FitzGerald’s release by opposing his grant of parole. But we have since discovered that there is no way we can oppose his release on furlough. Apparently, FitzGerald’s planned release is now in the works.
State’s Attorney Sarah George had tied her decisions made in the case to her personal opposition to life without parole sentencing in an interview with the Seven Days Vermont news publication, although in a later interview with a different publication (VT Digger) she backed off that position. All my sister had left in this world was that the Vermont Courts brought a measure of justice to her in sentencing FitzGerald to life without parole 28 years ago. The actions of the Chittenden County State’s Attorney, in acceding to FitzGerald’s very weak appeal for reasons that appear to have had little to do with the legal issues presented in the case, have stripped my sister of that.
Both VT Digger and WCAX TV had covered the story of FitzGerald’s recent waiver of a scheduled parole hearing. I had contacted both organizations concerning FitzGerald’s recent classification level and his likely ability to be released on furlough to live in the community. Neither organization has shown an interest in doing a follow-up story. In my view, by not following up on their previous reporting, they have provided the public with a misleading picture of the likelihood of FitzGerald’s release into the community.
The author is the brother of murder victim Amy (Zeltserman) FitzGerald.