WILKES-BARRE — Drinking an antifreeze-laced juice drink first landed Dawn Simyan in the headlines four years ago. Drinking and disturbing her ex-husband and his new wife landed her a conviction on Tuesday.
Simyan, the victim at the center of a Luzerne County poisoning case from 2010, was the aggressor in a separate case from last fall, in which the 44-year-old Jenkins Township woman was accused of burglary and other charges after she drunkenly tried to break into the Pittston home of John and Patty Simyan in the early hours of Sept. 22.
After a brief trial that began Tuesday morning in Luzerne County Court, jurors on Tuesday afternoon acquitted Simyan on the burglary charge, but convicted her of criminal mischief, criminal trespassing and harassment. Additionally, county Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr. ruled that there was enough evidence to find Simyan guilty on a summary count of public drunkenness.
“Clearly, alcohol played a role in this offense,” Sklarosky said.
According to police, Dawn Simyan showed up at her ex-husband’s home at 3:40 a.m. Sept. 22 and shouted “I will (expletive) kill you” at her ex-husband and his wife, smashing out a window and pounding on the door.
During the trial, jurors saw images and video, provided by John and Patty Simyan, of Dawn Simyan holding open the window curtains and looking into the home.
“I’m just happy she has finally been held accountable,” Patty Simyan said after the verdict, telling reporters her family had faced numerous difficulties with Simyan.
“Hopefully, it stops. She’s been doing this for years,” Patty Simyan said.
Dawn Simyan’s name became familiar to Wyoming Valley readers when she became ill after drinking a poisoned glass of Juicy Juice in March 2010.
Simyan fought back from potentially fatal kidney failure, in what investigators said was a deliberate act by Helen Galli, the mother of Simyan’s then-boyfriend, Victor Galli. Prosecutors alleged Galli was jealous of the relationship Simyan had with her son and did not like Simyan.
Galli’s defense included the suggestion Simyan poisoned herself to get Victor Galli’s attention, adding that some people use antifreeze as a cheap substitute for alcohol.
Simyan’s arrest at her ex-husband’s home came about two weeks before she testified at Galli’s trial.
Jurors in October found Galli guilty of aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment for pouring antifreeze into a glass of Juicy Juice at her Wyoming home and giving it to Victor Galli to take to Simyan. County Judge Fred A. Pierantoni sentenced Galli to serve 5 1/2 to 12 years behind bars.
Galli, 82, who is being held at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy, in Lycoming County, filed an appeal in February. The appeal takes aim at Simyan’s testimony that Victor Galli told her the drink he handed to her came from his mother, which the appeal calls “uncorroborated hearsay.”
Sentencing for Simyan is set for 9 a.m. May 12. Until that time, Simyan is subject to a 11 p.m. curfew unless she needs to be at work, Sklarosky ruled. She also is to maintain employment, may not have any contact with her victims and may not consume alcohol or any drugs that are not prescribed to her.
“I see on a daily basis how destructive alcohol can be,” the judge said as he ordered a pre-sentencing investigation.