WELLESLEY, MASS. — To live in Wellesley, Massachusetts— a venerable Boston suburb, home to an exclusive women’s college— is to have arrived in taste and understated style.
Tom Farmer, Boston Herald reporter: It’s an affluent suburb—one of the top in the state. It’s a great place to raise your kids. Great schools. You’ve got a very well educated community. A number of the people that are professionals or live in the community are college-educated, certainly very well to do.
In a town like this, murder is most often a safe encounter in the true-crime section of the little book store on Central Street.
But what happened in the woods by quiet Morse’s Pond that day wasn’t the shivers of a good fireside read, it was the stomach-churning real thing, a blunt and brutal killing, a bludgeoning and stabbing, of one of the town’s respected citizens.
On Halloween, no less.
Farmer: It was shocking that this could happen in their community.
When he got the tip, newspaper reporter Tom Farmer of The Boston Herald set aside the day’s big assignment, the crash of an Egypt Air jetliner, and started working the phones.
Dennis Murphy, Dateline correspondent: Murder in Wellesley. What’s that mean to you?
Farmer: a bell goes off in your head because you pay immediate attention. We don’t get murders there.
Wellesley Police Chief Terry Cunningham was visiting out-of-state when he got the call from his department.
Chief Terry Cunningham, Wellesley Police: They tell me that there appears to have been a homicide in one of our recreational park area at the pond.
If you were one of the regular dog walkers who used the 46-acres of the park, you probably would have had a nodding familiarity with the couple in their 50s, the people with the German Shepherds.
You might not have known that the man, Dirk Greineder, was a distinguished doctor, affiliated with Harvard, an expert on allergies.
May, his wife of 31 years, was a nurse working on an advanced degree in health care.
Farmer: She had worked for Dirk as a nurse, but mostly was a stay-at-home mom, especially when the kids were growing up.
The Greineder’s three children, two girls and a boy, were all Ivy League graduates, two of them following in their father’s footsteps as doctors.
They shone as athletes.
Farmer: Outstanding swimmers. I mean the type of kids that you hope your kids grow-up to be.
Murphy: So, in the social cache of Wellesley, they really had the trifecta — advanced degrees, accomplished Harvard doctor, three kids. Yale, Yale, Yale.
Farmer: An American flag flying over the top of the house. I mean, what else could you ask for?
The Greineders, their friends remembered, were a close, almost inseparable couple, devoted to their children.
They lived in this unpretentious house just a few blocks from Morse’s Pond.
As they’d done on so many mornings, Dirk and May Greineder took the dog for a walk down this pleasant pine-forest trail. But on this day, a crisp Sunday morning, one of them would have only a few minutes left to live.
Wellesley Detective Jill McDermott was dispatched to what would turn out to be the biggest case of her young career.
Det. Jill McDermott: I was in my office here at the police station and I had my radio on when I first started responding. A woman was hurt. A woman had hurt her back down at Morse’s pond.
But the woman found lying just off the trail wasn’t a back injury: May Greineder was dead. Her head battered with a blunt instrument, her chest stabbed, and her throat slashed.
Farmer: She was nearly decapitated. She was cut with a knife from here, all the way around—uh, gaping—two, two and a half inch wound.
Murphy: Some evidence of a sexual violation?
Farmer: Her blouse had been pulled up, and her pants had been pulled down.
Detective McDermott listened to a shaken Dr. Greineder recount his last moments with his wife.
Det. McDermott: May had twinged her back and he said that may told him to go along with the dog down to the water and he said that’s what he did. He said that the dog ran back to May, and that’s when he found her lying in the path.
Doctor Greineder said he checked his wife’s vital signs, and then tried to lift her, but she was too heavy.
So, he ran to the main road that cuts through the park.
Right there, he told police, someone caught his eye, someone running down the road just across from where he emerged. He went after the figure he thought he’d glimpsed.
Det. McDermott: He wanted to go get help and he thought he saw a runner on that pathway so he ran over there.
But the runner was gone. Back out on the main road, the doctor met the first of two people he asks for help, a dog walker, then a jogger.
Neither had a phone so he kept running up the road to where he and May had left their van.
Finally, he got to his cell phone and made this 911 call.
Dispatcher: Wellesley Police. This call is recorded.
Greineder: Help. I’m at the park. I think someone, someone attacked my wife. I’m trying to get police.
Dispatcher: Where are you?
Greineder: I’m at, at the park - Morse’s Pond.
Less than an hour later, the police secured the crime scene.
Chief Cunningham: We wanted to be able to lock that area down. We knew immediately that physical evidence was going to be extremely important.
A murder in the park in Wellesley—a doctor’s wife—was a full-scale alert at the police department.
This was the third person killed in a county park in the last year.
And the reporters arriving at the closed-off crime scene were well aware of that violent pattern. They smelled a big story.
Just the previous December, a 75-year-old woman had been killed while walking through a park with her husband in the nearby town of Walpole.
Farmer: Irene Kennedy was taking a morning walk with her husband. Their normal routine was she was in better shape than he was. He would walk a certain distance with her, stop and rest, and then she would complete her circuit. Come back and they’d go home. Well, she didn’t come back. When the police arrived they found her brutally murdered, sexually mutilated. A horrific, horrific crime.
Then—just a few months later—an 80-year-old man also out for a morning walk was savagely beaten in a park in the neighboring town of Westwood.
Farmer: And the other thing was all these communities begin with the letter “W” so now we’re saying, you know, there’s somebody killing people in towns that begin with a “W” in Norfolk county.
Murphy: In the very safe, secure, little town of Wellesley, how did that go down?
Farmer: Oh, there was immediate concern. There was a furor because the district attorney and the police chief allowed trick or treating to go on that night.
Murphy: People were scared?
Farmer: People were very scared.
Chief Cunningham: No question that there was a fear, that there was a fear not only here in Wellesley but in other areas that there was an individual out there that had committed all three of these homicides.
Detectives started combing through the wooded path.
Chief Cunningham: One of the most difficult crime scenes is an outdoor crime scene, to try and contain it, just contain the area, and to, and to make sure that we don’t lose any of that evidence.
And amidst the dead leaves they found some odd things…
Det. McDermott: Zip lock bags were found in the path right near May’s body, and the loaf pan and lighter fluid and some latex gloves in a plastic bag were found a few feet way from May’s body under some debris.
Were they clues left behind by the killer? Or just bits of litter?
Forensic specialists measured the drag marks left by May’s body, another identified footprints, then, just a few hours later, they got a big break.
A police dog hit on a storm drain in the park concealed from view by autumn leaves.
Chief Cunningham: Once they cleaned it off and lifted the lid up, they looked down four feet at the bottom of the storm drain, the knife, the hammer and one of the gloves. My common sense told me that there had to be another glove and it had to be somewhere down here on the scene.
Murphy: So you went looking for it?
Cunningham: That’s correct.
And the next day, in a second storm drain, the Wellesley police discovered a second glove.
Now they had the killer’s gloves and weapons, and some odd items found at the scene of the crime.
But who would want May Greineder dead?
As fall turned to winter, the police were still trying to answer that question and fear had buried itself in the town like a virus. Three people murdered in county parks and no arrest.
Chief Cunningham was swamped with panicky phone calls from city selectmen and concerned citizens alike.
Chief Cunnigham: The tone and feeling in the town of Wellesly was one of nervousness, that a homicide had been committed and at this point we hadn’t identified anyone.
But finally, four months into the investigation, the district attorney announced that they had made an arrest in the brutal killing of May Greineder.
Not a serial killer stalking the parks, not a stranger psychopath, but a Harvard doctor: Dirk Greineder—emminent allergist, father of three, constant companion of his wife May— was charged with her first-degree murder.
Chief Cunnigham: We followed every lead that we could, we went in very direction that it took us to and it kept bringing us back to Dirk Greineder.
An accomplished doctor, a prominent member of the community, a model father, but also a man with a secret life and ferocious appetites.
It was all about to spill out in a New England courtroom.
The arrest of Doctor Dirk Greineder for the brutal killing of his wife sent shock waves through the town of Wellsely.
Tom Farmer, Boston Herald reporter: I don’t think there’s been a bigger story there in the last 40 or 50 years.
Friends of the couple rallied around the doctor. His neighbors even offered to put up a hundred thousand dollars if the judge decided to grant the world-traveling doctor bail.
And his children launched a full-throttled campaign to support their father -- appearing in People Magazine and on local Boston television.
Greineder hired one of Boston’s top attorneys, and prepared to tell the world that police had gotten it all wrong.
Farmer: I’ll never forget when Dirk made his first appearance. He came confidently striding into the room, took his seat at the defense table, you could see that he was energized. That, you know, this is my chance now, I’m gonna tell the story. I’m going to beat this.
And the state’s case against Dirk Greineder wasn’t a sure thing. With no eye-witnesses, no confession to the crime, the prosecutor was going to have to rely on circumstantial evidence to convince a jury of 12 that a well-respected Harvard doctor, the adored father of three, brutally killed his wife of 31 years during a morning walk through a public park. The prosecutor was going to have build his case piece by piece.
As in all murder cases, Prosecutor Rick Grundy didn’t have to give the jury a motive for WHY he believed Dirk Greineder murdered his wife, but it was a question that demanded an answer.
Rick Grundy, prosecutor: What society and those in the community who knew him best knew about this individual was vastly incomplete.
Grundy would begin to chip away at the facade of the high-achieving family living in a tidy house on Cleveland Road.
Grundy: Dirk Greineder was one of the most controlling individuals I ever prosecuted. Everything was gonna be set up in his way.
Murphy: The children were involved in the swimming for Dirk?
Grundy: Dirk was a collegiate swimmer. And that became the paramount sport for all three children.
Murphy: So, his scientific discipline became theirs?
Grundy: Two doctors out of three kids.
Murphy: His alma mater became theirs?
Grundy would tell the jury that there were clues that Dirk Greineder might be losing this tight grip on the family— signs that his marriage was crumbling.
May’s niece testified that her aunt seemed adrift in the marriage.
Belinda, May's neice (in court): I personally observed that she was somewhat lonely and I think they were spending more time away from each other.
May had recently also gone on a self-improvement tear.
Belinda: She started dressing nicer, coordinating her clothing and she lost some weight. She was exercising.
And when May wanted help she went to her sister, Ilse Stark, not her husband.
Ilse Stark, May's sister: And oddly enough she asked me she wanted money to have a facelift.
In recounting her last conversation with May, just two days before the murder, Ilse sensed something was troubling her sister.
Grundy: What did you note with respect to her affect as she spoke with you?
Stark: Very stressed.
Stress—but why now?
After more than 30 years together, with the children doing well, with their bills paid, what could be pushing this marriage to the brink?
The prosecutor would tell the jury that Doctor Greineder had developed an all-consuming obsession— a secret life that amounted to nothing less than an unquenachable thirst for sex.
Bondage, threesomes, swinger couples, prostitutes, Internet porn: the doctor was into it all.
Farmer: This case was sensational enough as it was, just on the merits of, you know, this all-American family. Now you throw that into there it was like a nuclear explosion.
The judge limited the prosecutor to discussing the doctor’s sex life for a period of just seven days before the murder. But what a week it was, Grundy would tell the jury.
An examination of the doctor’s computer found that he joined two new Web Sites that week alone. One lets viewers watch live video of naked women.
The owner of the Fort Lauderdale business explained how it works ...
Gifford: We have a room that’s in Amsterdam that has female models in these rooms. Each room has a camera on the model and the model has a computer and a keyboard there where the viewer can come in and see her, ask her to do poses or whatnot or just chat with her.
And the doctor was trolling for sex day and night.
Grundy: He’s sending out e-mails at a ferocious rate starting at 4 o’clock in the morning, getting on at times 11 o’clock at night until 2 o’clock in the morning. And these are all very pointed, very directed as to meeting, getting together, different things that he’s interested in.
Murphy: Accelerating obsession?
Grundy: Absolutley accelerating. Absolutley accelerating.
A look at the doctor’s calendar showed that the Saturday before the weekend his wife was murdered, the doctor attended an out-of-town medical conference at this hotel in suburban New Jersey.
The prosecutor introduced phone logs that showed Greineder calling a New York escort service at 2:46am in the morning. He wanted a woman sent to his room. The price: $400.
Hotel records show he ordered a porn film, and then went to the lobby where he made four separate cash withdrawls for $100 each.
The dispatcher for Marilyn’s Escorts told the court she sent a girl from their Brooklyn office.
Grundy: Was in fact an escort dispatched to the Sheraton Mahwah?
Grundy: Now this is an individual who, again, in a highly professional field is at a seminar where he’s a lecturer and he’s on the Internet until 3 am. He’s at the ATM in the lobby taking money out at like 4 am. And he’s with a hooker from 4 am to 6 am. And he’s lecturing at 10 am. You know, when is this individual sleeping?
And that wasn’t all.
Six days before the murder, the doctor made contact with a Massachusetts couple into swinging. He met them through the computer dating service he joined the week of May’s murder.
His cyber-handle: “casualguy2000.” He even e-mailed a nude photo he’d taken of himself.
Grundy: This person who probably his most prized possession is his professional reputation is now e-mailing to complete strangers naked photographs of himself.
Harry Page, the swinging husband of the couple told the jury about their encounter with “casualguy” who was looking for a “threesome”.
Grundy: Could you read that message that was received from casualguy 2000?
Harry Page: “I am white married but she does not play so I’m looking for a very discreet couple with whom to play. I also am very oral both give and receive and would love to exchange emails to see if we can fit. I am a few pounds overweight, really only a few. Love group activities. I am basically straight but can be flexible in group situations...”
And there was more. The same night he contacted the Paiges, the swinging couple, Greineder traded e-mails with another new woman who went by the name “backalley cat.”
Grundy: Could you recall what that communication was as you are here today?
Irwin: Something along the lines that he was interested in what I was offering.
The next day, five days before the murder, the doctor e-mailed "Daisymay828" who told the court the doctor was also looking to meet her.
On October 30th, the day before the murder, the doctor did some other things the prosecutor found odd.
Greineder—who was always concerned with keeping in shape—suspended his Boston Sports Club membership for the next three months.
Suspicious timing, thought the prosecutor...
Grundy: So that would reflect to you a freeze request for November first 1999 to the first of February 2000?
Williams: Yes sir.
That same day—less then 24 hours before his wife would be murdered. he contacted Deborah Doolio—a woman who ran an escort service called ‘Casual Elegance.’
The doctor had paid her for sex on one occasion 5 months earlier, and he had been trying to meet her again in early September.
But sensing something “off” about the doctor, Doolio suggested he think hard about what he was doing before they schedule another tryst.
Deborah Doolio, escort: He was indecisive and I felt confused. And I told him maybe that seeing an escort wasn’t the best thing to do for him until he found some peace within himself.
And prosecutor Grundy implied that the doctor just might have found that “peace” the day before May’s murder when he finally made the decision to kill his wife and get her out of the way.
That Saturday, he placed a call to Doolio. He left her a message. It was the day before his wife’s murder.
Grundy: He had this plot ready to hatch. It was gonna happen. And I think maybe some last minute jitters caused him to reach out for her.
He calls her a second time on November 1st, the day after the murder.
To Grundy, that was hardly the sign of a grieving husband.
And when the doctor couldn’t pay for sex with cash, he went to great lengths to cover his tracks.
Greineder set up a phony medical company with a corporate credit card in the name of his long-ago roommate from Yale.
Thomas Young testified that he was stunned when Detective Foley told him to check out newspaper stories that detailed how the doctor had been using his name as an alias.
Young: Mr. Foley suggested that I look at the two Boston newspapers articles on it and that’s how I came to most of my information.
And when detectives searched the Greineder house almost two weeks after the murder, they found a box hidden in the garage.
Det. Foley: The first being a prescription for Viagra and the second being a 12 pack of Trojan condoms.
Prosecutor Grundy told the jury May might have started getting wind of her husband’s secret sex life. Grundy called to the stand a repairman who had been working at the Greineder home two days before she was murdered.
He overheard Dirk confronting May about whether she’d been on his computer. Had May found out about the porn sites? The e-mails in search of sex?
Grundy: Do you recall whether or not at that time there was any conversation that you overheard from the defendant to May Greineder?
Rosado, repairman: Yes he came up and asked her if she had used his computer and she replied, ‘no’.
But the prosecutor didn’t buy it. He suspected May had used the doctor’s computer that day and was angry.
Murphy: Is this the trigger? Has the repairman heard the moment?
Grundy: Could be. And again I can’t complete that circle. As far as did may discover this? Was May going to use this in an attempt to get a divorce? Besmirch his reputation either with his children or with his professional associates? But certainly at this point in time we know that it’s less than an idyllic marriage and it’s clear that those activities are activities that May Greineder doesn’t fit into.
Greineder’s defense lawyer Martin Murphy was eager to refute the prosecution’s secret sex life theory of the crime.
Martin Murphy, defense attorney: This was an unfortunate use of his time. But it was not an obsession and it was not a motive for murder.
But, he’d have to wait for his moment because the prosecutor was still laying out his case. If Grundy had a hope of winning he was going to have to take the jury— step-by-gruesome-step—on that fatal walk through Morse’s Pond that ended in a savage murder.
The prosecutor was intent on getting a murder one conviction and to get there he would take the jury on a morning walk through Morse’s Pond.
Grundy felt it was so crucial to his case, that he brought the jury in a bus to see the park.
According to the prosecutor, May didn’t throw out her back walking, as Dirk had told the police, but continued strolling with him into the protective canopy of trees.
Rick Grundy, prosecutor: This is probably the only area there that you can be relatively assured that you’re gonna be alone and obscured from view.
There, argued the prosecutor, the doctor took a hammer and struck his wife from behind.
A fellow dog walker heard a scream at about 8:45 am.
McNally: I heard someone yell—very quick, short yells from a distance. I would say it was a higher pitch rather than a lower pitch.
Grundy: He’s now concerned that somebody heard her scream.
Dennis Murphy, correspondent: So he doesn’t have as much time at that point?
Grundy: Right, and he’s not going to complete his plan. And it knocks him off his list of things to do.
Grundy said he only had time to finish her off with the four-inch pocketknife and drag her body into the bushes.
Grundy: This is an individual that doesn’t ad lib well. So now there’s panic set in. Those things that he conceives as being most inculpatory of himself, he makes sure he’s gonna get out there. The hammer, the knife, the gloves that he’s wearing during the crime.
The prosecutor wanted the jury to look very closely at what Dr. Greineder did that morning. May Greineder lay gravely injured (points) in the path behind. Now Greineder said he was going to get her help. The way to get help is to take this road up and out of the park, but what does Greineder do? Instead, he takes this path way over another way. It’s a dead end. A road to nowhere. And the reason we know he went in that direction, is that a man, up on the hill, walking a dog saw him.
Grundy: What was the course of travel the defendant took after you saw him come from the right hand side?
Kear: He went behind the planter and to the left there’s an access road and disappeared.
The dog walker testified that he saw Greineder head down the path that dead ends, and then emerge back out onto the main road after about 45-seconds.
Grundy: And at some point did you see the defendant again, sir?
Murphy: How important is that dog walker to making this case?
Grundy: I think he’s crucial. The two pound hammer was found in the storm drain—down that paved path along with the knife and one of the gloves that were linked to the murder.
And the prosecutor thought it was significant that Greineder not only ran away from possible help when he emerged from the path where May lay dying, but never called out for assistance.
Grundy: When you saw the defendant, sir, what if anything was he saying?
Kear: I didn’t hear him say anything.
Grundy: I find that an incredible story again when you tie in with the entire context that he comes into the circle that he’s not yelling, he’s not screaming “help, help, help.”
After the doctor emerged from the path, he asks Kear if he had a phone:
Kear: I said “no.” I didn’t have a cellular phone and then I asked, “What happened?”
Grundy: What, if anything, did he state?
Kear: He stated that his wife had been attacked.
The doctor then runs into Richard Magnan who was out for a morning jog.
Magnan: The man asked if I had a phone.
Grundy: And what did you respond?
Magnan: I said no.
When the doctor finally reached his mini van on the outskirts of the park he did call for help.
Yet, to Grundy’s ear -- the call hit a false note.
(911 call) Dispatcher: Wellesley police. This call’s recorded.
Greineder: Help, I’m at the park. I think someone attacked my wife.
Dispatcher: Sir, where are you?
Greineder: I’m at, at the park, Morse’s pond.
Dispatcher: At Morse’s pond?
Greineder: We were walking the dog. Someone attacked. I left her cause she hurt her back.
Dispatcher: Is she injured?
Greineder: I think she’s dead. I’m not sure. I’m a doctor. I went back.
Dispatcher: Please head over to Morse’s pond.
Greineder: She looks terrible....
Grundy: Everybody who had the misfortune of seeing May Greineder just said this neck wound is one of the most severe wounds I have ever seen.
Murphy: This poor woman is dead.
Grundy: And there was just nothing you could do, and yet you have a physician who makes a 911 call who’s saying, you know, “She’s hurt, she’s hurt bad. You know, I don’t know how bad. She may be dead, she may not be dead.”
Were these the words of a confused husband? Or were they the first signs of the doctor starting to cover up?
And the prosecutor was also troubled by the time that had elapsed before the doctor made the call.
Richard Magnan, the jogger, testified that after he ran into Greineder, he went down to where the body was, had a conversation with Kear, the dog walker, and then ran about a third of a mile back to the van.
Grundy: So you had traveled the rest of that distance into the parking lot, correct?
Grundy: Had this conversation with the individual you knew as Bill with the small dog and then made a decision to go back to the top of the access road, is that correct?
Even though the doctor had a big head start, when Magnan arrived at Greineder’s mini van—only then was he making the 911 call.
Magnan: As I got close enough to hear I could hear he was making a phone call.
What was the doctor doing during for all that time?
Grundy: There was at least a four or five minute period of time that the defendant would have been at his van but wasn’t on this call yet.
It was a hint of something that would become important later in the trial. Shortly after the doctor called for help, detectives started collecting bits of evidence in the path where May’s body was found: that baking tin, the lighter fluid and three Zip Lock bags in different sizes.
An FBI expert testified that the distinctive creases in the Zip Lock bags identified them as unquestionable matches to the ones found in a search of the Greineder’s kitchen.
Grundy: What, if any determinations were you able to make with respect to those two bags taken from the scene of the death of May Greineder and the bags taken from the defendant’s home?
FBI expert: It was my determination that the bags were at one time a continuous sheet of plastic with the remaining bags in the box.
And a crime scene investigator testified that there were NO fingerprints anywhere to be found on the bags.
Had someone carried them to the crime scene wearing gloves?
Grundy: On that plastic bag, what if anything you found whether it be a print, portion of a print any ridge detail at all?
CSI investigator: No ridge detail on this item.
Grundy: That means they were completely void of any kind of these whirls or loops or valleys that the professionals would look at to see it they can make a fingerprint comparison.
And then there was the lighter fluid—also oddly free of fingerprints and purchased at the grocery store where the doctor usually shopped.
Grundy: This isn’t lighter fluid like for charcoal. This is for an actual lighter that’s also, and it says right on it, you know, “good for removing stains.”
Was the doctor planning to wipe off any potential DNA?
And when the police searched the Greineder home in the days after May’s murder, they found other clues they said pointed to the doctor.
Det. Foley: This is a receipt that was also taken from the workbench area on November 12th.
Doctor Greineder was known as a hyper-organized man: tools in the work bench kept in precise order, and he kept his receipts large and small.
And one RECEIPT for a petty cash purchase would be critically important in the circumstantial case against the doctor.
Grundy: Can you tell me sir, is that the receipt for various nails?
Det. Foley: Yes it is.
It was a receipt for nails bought at Diehl’s Hardware where the doctor was a regular customer. The receipt showed the time of purchase: 8:55am.
When the detectives looked at the store’s receipts from that register, they found that the very next sale was for a 2-pound Estwing drilling hammer.
The same kind of hammer used to kill May Greineder. One of only four sold in that store the entire year.
While the prosecutor thought the timing was very telling, he couldn’t definitively prove that the doctor had bought the hammer.
Grundy: Can you compare the date of those two sales?
Beth Murphy: Yes it’s the same date. The sales were sequential.
Grundy: The hammer was sold two and half minutes after the nails were bought by the defendant. Same register.
And, it was during the same search of the Greineder house that the police chief himself noticed another piece of circumstantial evidence wedged in the roof of the doghouse.
Chief Cunnigham: As soon as I lifted the lid up in the upper left hand corner, I noticed a pair of the jersey dot brown work gloves.
A pair that matched the ones the killer had used and ditched in the storm drain.
But a critical element of the prosecution’s case against Dirk Greineder came back to what the police officers first noticed when they arrived at the scene of the murder: an observation that shouted at them... blood.
If the doctor was telling the truth, they say, blood wasn’t where it should be and WAS where it shouldn’t be.
The prosecutor dissected the evidence piece by piece using an emerging area of forensic science called “blood spatter analysis.” Why were the doctor’s sneakers sprayed with his wife’s blood, what the state’s expert, Ken Martin, calls ‘impact spatter’?
Ken Martin: You can see it here. You can see it here—impact type spatter that are located on the shoe itself.
And—the doctor’s jacket? According to the expert, the same type of stains.
Martin: Just a few of the impact spatters, if we go along the jacket we can see them here, here, here, here.
Those kinds of stains were not from the doctor’s frantic attempts to help his wife, the expert said, but were from what he called blood in motion.
When the hammer went down and the knife went in, blood flew.
Grundy: Is that consistent with an individual being within inches or feet of the person whom is the source of that blood?
Ken Martin: Yes, sir.
Grundy: During the time when the blows--?
Martin: During, what I would call it during the incident, the bloodshed incident.
And the blood stains on the jacket?
Martin said they were consistent with how the doctor would have carried his wife to drag her off the path.
Martin: With the type of transfer on the sleeves it would be certainly consistent for one to take their arms and place them under the victim to move the victim in that fashion.
And more than anything else how could the doctor explain why his hands—pictured here in the police photographs taken the morning of the murder—look perfectly clean—even though he said he felt his wife’s very bloody wound.
Grundy: Did you make any observations of his hands?
Det. Jill McDermott: I noticed that there was no visible blood on his hands. The defendant had blood on the sleeves and the shoulder part of his windbreaker. His hands were completely clean. There was no blood on his hands.
Murphy: And yet he said he’d cradled his wife’s head, attended to her?
Det. McDermott: Right. He had told us twice that he checked her carotid artery and yet he had no blood on his hands.
The answer to why he had no blood on his hands was obvious to the prosecutor:
Dirk Greineder’s hands looked clean because he was wearing gloves when he murdered his wife.
Though the doctor would have a different explanation later, that’s how the prosecution’s expert, Rod Englert, accounted for this telling smudge of blood on the doctor’s glasses—a smudge he says precisely matches the dimpled pattern on the fingers of the killer’s glove.
Grundy said the doctor made the smudge when he touched his glasses with glove-clad hands.
Grundy: There is a large smear across his glasses. What do you touch your glasses with? You touch your glasses with your hands. How do you get a blood smear on your glasses, on the lens of your glasses where you would take them off if you don’t have any blood on your hands
And the police said the doctor immediately began acting like a murder suspect not a man despondent over his dead wife.
Grundy: Did he ask you any questions?
Fitz: After a while, he asked me if she was dead.
Grundy: What, if anything, did you state when the defendant asked if she was dead?
Fitz: I told him she was dead.
Grundy: Did he ask you anything further, sir?
Fitz: He asked me if I was going to arrest him.
According to the detective, Greineder also seemed overly concerned with his two dogs even though he’d just found his wife brutally murdered.
Det. McDermott: Towards the end of this initial conversation he had mentioned his dogs. That he has two dogs. One dog Zephyr was in the van and one dog Wolfie was home alone. And that he wanted to get home and take care of them.
Murphy: Did anyone think that was odd? The consuming interest in the dog? And what he’s going to do with it.
Grundy: Yeah, I think we all did? At this point in time his planned trip assuming that he and may went for their walk got back to the van and went home is only off by maybe 20 minutes. So with your wife in that condition is your over-riding concern going to be that this dog is 20 minutes past being needed to let out of the house.
And when they brought him to the police station, to the detective’s ears, he started to try to account for potential evidence ...
Det. McDermott: He said, “I’m thinking of all these crazy things.” He said that last night may Mad given him a backrub and therefore may would have his skin underneath her fingernails.
Greineder was worried, the detective said, that the police were zeroing in on him—just as he had seen on the TV cop shows.
Murphy: This was what three to four hours after his wife has been found murdered in the park and he’s talking about backrubs and traces of skin material?
McDermott: Yep. And then he made a few other statements that he had seen this on TV and they were going to think it’s him.
And the prosecutor was interested in Dirk’s conversations with family members as they began to arrive in Wellesley after hearing news of May’s murder.
While the doctor told a detective that he and his wife had not been intimate for years, when Greineder’s niece arrived he—appropos of nothing—told her he and May had had sex the morning of her murder.
Belinda Markel: He said, “We had had sexual intercourse but that’s okay because we’re married.”
To Grundy, the doctor was preoccupied with physical evidence because he was worried that he had left behind tell-tale traces of DNA.
Grundy: The damage control started in that pathway. As a man of science, he’s providing an explanation for the exchange of bodily fluids. He’s going back through his mind and saying, “Where did I go off my list?” “Where did I make my mistakes?” And I need to provide an explanation for those things.
The prosecutor was enveloping the doctor in a damning web of circumstantial evidence.
Grundy: This really was a case where we had a number of bricks and together the bricks made a very strong wall.
But the doctor and his lawyer were about to get their chance to explain it all—every last bit of it.
The defense mounted its case piece by piece—and one of his themes? The doctor was too smart to be so stupid.
Mike Murphy, defense: Dirk Greineder was a Ph.D. pharmacologist. Dirk Greineder would have had - if he wanted to kill his wife and he certainly did not want to kill his wife - any number of ways that were less likely to get him caught than this.
Dennis Murphy, Dateline correspondent: But not on a public pathway on a Sunday morning?
Mike Murphy: Absolutely not, if this was a plan it was the worst plan one could imagine and to try to suggest that Dirk Greineder went out there on a beautiful Sunday morning in a public park, full of people, wearing a yellow wind breaker that’s a brighter shade of yellow than a New York City taxi cab makes no sense whatsoever.
Dennis Murphy: He couldn’t be this stupid?
Mike Murphy: Absolutely.
Dennis Murphy: This is a smart guy, ladies and gentlemen?
Mike Murphy: Absolutely. This is a man who did not kill his wife.
And Murphy thought the newspaper headlines told the real story.
An unknown killer was lurking in the county’s parks—two elderly people had been senselessly and brutally murdered in the past year. May, he wanted the jury to know, was the unfortunate third.
But to Murphy the police never bothered looking for this killer — the real killer—because it was easier, and faster, to nail the husband.
Mike Murphy: There was no reason for them to exclusively focus right from the start as they did on Dirk Greineder, especially when they knew about these two other crimes so close in area, so close in time, so similar in circumstances.
Mike Murphy: Never. They treated him from the get-go, from moment one, as “the” suspect, the only suspect. They didn’t look at any other possibility.
Dennis Murphy: So you’re arguing in court, this is a rush to judgment ...
Mike Murphy: Yes.
Dennis Murphy: Police had leads. This killer who was working the parks, didn’t pursue it?
Mike Murphy: Absolutely.
The police work, Murphy argued, was riddled with flaws—mega flaws.
In fact, the first officer to arrive that morning remembers a car at the gate of the park, next to Dirk’s, but he didn’t take down the license plate.
Mike Murphy: Do you remember what color it is?
Officer Fitz: No I don’t.
Murphy: Do you remember whether it was an old sedan or a new sedan?
Fitz: No I don’t.
Murphy: And I take it you didn’t take any note of a license plate or any other identifying information on that sedan?
Fitz: No I didn’t. Nope.
Murphy: You’re going to find no effort on the part of the police, zero to figure out where that sedan came from, who was driving that sedan. We know it was there moments, moments after the murder.
It was a vehicle that went unaccounted for. Was it driven by May’s killer?
The same went for the fresh tire tracks found down the road leading to the pond that morning. town worker up early noticed them but again authorities didn’t run down how they got there.
Murphy: Did you or other investigators working with you ever identify the driver of the vehicle who left the tire tracks that Mr. Adams saw?
Foley: No we haven’t.
Mike Murphy: Another set of tire tracks that a DPW worker saw. No idea who that was. Exclusive focus on Dirk Greineder.
The police had also made a big deal about the doctor’s clean hands. But Murphy said the doctor had simply wiped them on his clothing ...
Murphy: There’s a difference between science and visual observations, particularly when a man’s who’s 59 years old has run more than a mile, is sweaty, on a warm day and there is blood on his pants and jacket that’s consistent with him having wiped the blood on his hands off.
But most importantly, a routine swab of the doctor’s hands would have proved once and for all if blood was actually present or not.
But defense attorney Murphy found it amazing that even though it would become a major reason the detectives became suspicious of the doctor that morning, the police didn’t perform the test.
Murphy: You knew that there were screening tests for the presence of blood that were employed by the state police crime lab.
Foley: Yes, that’s correct.
Murphy: You never asked Dr. Greineder for consent to perform that test, is that correct?
Foley: No I never did.
Murphy: The key point about the hands is this: there’s a simple scientific test that the police could have performed if they wanted to that would have determined conclusively, given Dirk Greineder a fair shake, did he have blood on his hands or not and the police in the early moments of this investigation chose never to perform that test.
Why, Murphy was asking the jury, did the police work seem to be so airtight when it came to finding evidence that would hurt the doctor? Then inexplicably inept when it came to gathering evidence that would help him?
Another case in point for defense attorney Murphy: the footprints.
Murphy: They protected the scene around May Greineder’s body as they should have protected that scene, but they didn’t take the basic steps that would have given us “all” answers. That would have permitted Dirk Greineder to clear his name.
The police had meticulously accounted for every footprint at the crime scene—officers, EMTs—but they neglected to look for the doctor’s footprints around the beach house where he said he had gone with the dog when May was murdered.
Murphy: Did you cross over a footbridge toward a beach house area?
Rebierio: No, I did not.
Murphy: With Dirk Greineder they never gave him the chance of walking the police through the scene, pointing out footprints. Those are my footprints. Those are the dog’s footprints. They never gave him the chance to prove that his story was true.
The defense was gaining momentum.
But what about that damaging testimony from the dog walker who saw the doctor running away from where his van was parked?
The doctor said he ran down that path because he was chasing what might have turned out to be his wife’s killer.
And critically—while William Kear told the jury he clearly saw the doctor go down the path where the murder weapons and glove were discovered, the defense would press him on what he didn’t see.
Mike Murphy: The doctor’s whole left side of the doctor’s body is exposed to this witness Mr. Kear. and his right arm is extended so there’s no place, there’s no place for those weapons, for those gloves to be and Mr. Kear didn’t see them.
Murphy (in court): You didn’t see him with a 2-lbs. drilling hammer in his left hand did you, sir?
Murphy: And this is an object that you never saw that day, is that fair to say?
Kear: That’s correct.
Murphy: At no point in any of your encounters with Dr. Greineder did you see this object in his hand or anywhere on his person, is that fair to say?
Kear: I have never seen that object before today.
Murphy: What he never saw at any point was Dirk Greineder with any weapons, with any gloves, with any of the information that ultimately the police said linked him to the crime.
Where were the weapons?
Not in his backpack -- the obvious hiding place -- the defense pointed out -- because there wasn’t a single trace of blood anywhere in the sack.
Murphy: In that small backpack there were 3 balls, 3 leashes and a pair of platex gloves? Is that correct?
Murphy: And none of those items tested positive for the presence of blood?
Pino: That’s correct.
Murphy: and there’s no blood on the inside of the backpack and there’s no blood on any of the items in there.
And as for the other blood evidence, Murphy ripped into the credentials of one of the state’s witnesses who interpreted blood spatter.
Murphy: Blood stain interpretation relies on the discipline of physics, is that correct?
Englert: That is only one that it relies upon yes.
Murphy: And it relies on the discipline of mathematics and biology? Chemistry?
Murphy: And sir, it’s fair to say that you have no degrees in any of those subjects?
Englert: No sir, I do not.
Murphy: No background whatsoever in science, zero background in science. We viewed him as one step up from a circus fortune teller.
And a forensic scientist called by the defense said the blood stains were inconclusive. Stains on Greineder’s clothing could have been caused by being close to the killing but the stains could also have occurred when the doctor tried to pick up his injured wife.
But what about all those the pieces of evidence the police had linked to the doctor’s home?
The doctor said May had probably dropped those Ziplocks in the path because she frequently brought them along on their walks to collect berries for her bird feeders.
As for the gloves found in the doghouse.
Sure, they were the same type used by the killer, Murphy argued, but they weren’t the same gloves: People all over the country owned the same jersey-dot work gloves.
Murphy: They start with the conclusion, the presumption that he did it and they work backwards and they try to show that all of these items must have come from his house. All of these items must have been purchased from him. Instead what they show, for example, is that he shops at Home Depot and, lo and behold, knifes like this are sold at Home Depot. Well, you know, if that’s evidence that someone is a murderer, there will be a lot of people who will be going to jail soon.
And the hammer, it turns out, wasn’t that rare.
Murphy: There are thousands and thousands of those hammers sold every year. And we don’t know that that hammer, or the hammer that was purchased that day at that hardware store is the hammer that was used in the murder scene. It’s just a guess on the part of the state.
But the prosecution had pointed out the same exact kind of 2-lbs. drilling hammer was bought just a few minutes after some nails were bought for the Greineder home.
The defense argued that the receipt for nails proved only that someone in the Greineder house had bought nails.
And Dirk and May’s son Colin took the stand to tell the court that he may well have bought the nails that day—not his father.
Murphy: Do you remember whether you bought the nails in new haven or whether you bought them locally around here?
Colin: I’m pretty sure that I bought them in Wellesley.
Murphy: Do you have a specific memory of buying nails that week?
Murphy: And do you have a specific memory of what you did with those nails?
Colin: Yes, I left them for my dad.
Murphy: And where did you leave them?
Colin: On his workbench.
And Colin discounted his father’s extra-marital sex life as a motive for murder because it wasn’t a deep, dark secret.
About a year before his mother’s death, Colin said he tripped into a trove of pornographic material while using his father’s computer one day.
Murphy: What did you do when you saw those sites?
Colin Greineder: I felt (breaks down) I felt embarrassed and I was just... sad
After that he asked his mother if she felt okay in the marriage—she assured him she did.
Colin Greineder: And then I used the opportunity, I guess, to ask my mom if she was happy with her marriage.
Murphy: And what did she say?
Colin Greineder: Yes. She said, she said our sex life could be better. And then i got myself together to say, ‘well have you talked to dad about it? She said, ‘oh yeah, oh yeah, we’ve talked about it, she said, but i think your dad has his own way of dealing with that now.’
And as for the testimony of May’s sister, that the doctor may have lost interest in his wife?
She also said it was an uncommonly close marriage. May and Dirk were, by all accounts, inseparable.
Ilse Stark, May's sister: They never did anything individually. If a wastepaper basket was needed in the house, May had to go with Dirk to pick out the wastepaper basket. It was a relationship that I had thought was very strong.
Shortly after the murder, May’s sister even went so far as to lend the doctor money. Would she really help the doctor if she thought he was capable of brutally killing her only sister?
And now it was Dirk Greineder’s turn to tell the jury his side of the story.
Now it was Dirk Greineder’s turn to tell the jury how much he loved May, his devoted wife of 31 years.
Dirk Greineder: She was the most incredible person I’ve ever met. I love her more than anything. I just can’t imagine living without her, to this day.
Mike Murphy, defense attorney: The state’s case makes no sense. He had no reason to want his wife dead. And there’s no evidence that anything happened in the time immediately preceeding the murder that would have caused him to want to kill his wife.
Just the opposite, the doctor told the jury.
Greineder said he and May were ecstatic over their older daughter’s recent engagement announcement.
They were planning her wedding.
Mike Murphy, defense attorney: Did there come a time doctor when you learned that your oldest daughter Kirsten was getting engaged?
Dirk Greineder: Yes. That was two weeks before my wife’s death. I provided the looseleaf binder that she had almost filled in two weeks with materials to plan for our daughter’s wedding.
And the doctor told the jury that the night before his wife was killed, they’d spent a quiet evening together working on a paper for a class May was taking.
Dirk Greineder: That evening we worked on May’s studies. I know I printed out her paper for her at one point so she could proofread it. And I know that I typed her bibliography.
It was a typical of their devotion. They both did whatever they could to help the other, the doctor said.
And he told the court that he and his wife were still extremely close even though their sexual relationship ended five years earlier when May developed some health problems.
Dirk Greineder: Around that time she seemed to progressively lose interest in sex which led to our stopping having sexual relations.
Greineder said his entry into the world of unconventional sex started after this—and only as a last resort.
Dirk Greineder: I felt extremely awkward and uncomfortable about what I was doing.
The doctor sensed May was aware of his “other” life.
Dirk Greineder: She called me one day at work and said that she had accidentally opened my travel shaving kit and had found the bottle of Viagra in the kit and did I have an explanation. I couldn’t think of anything other to say then to tell her that I had bought them to experiment with.
Mike Murphy: What did your wife say in response?
Dirk Greineder: She didn’t say much more. She said, “Oh well I’m sorry that I was prying, I didn’t mean to. I opened it by accident.”
And while the doctor said his wife knew, and maybe even quietly accepted his philandering, he also testified that their marital bond was as strong and as unbreakable as ever.
In an odd way, the doctor seemed to indicate that his life of anonymous sex may have helped keep their relationship together— there were no demanding mistresses insisting he leave his wife.
It was a way to save his marriage, not to end it.
Murphy: Did you consider asking your wife for a divorce?
Dirk Greineder: Never. I couldn’t imagine living without her.
But in a moment of profound humiliation the Harvard doctor had to confess that his sordid, furtive sex life was all true —the porn, the swingers, the prostitutes ...
Murphy: Is this something doctor you have difficulty talking about?
Dirk Greineder: Yes. I’m - it’s embarrassing... It’s embarrassing. It seems so silly... it was a side activity. I was, I guess, gratifying, a secondary need. And it obviously, I did it and I’m not proud of it.
The doctor had been unfaithful, yes, humiliated by the sex revelations, certainly, but the defense attorney argued that was no reason to kill his wife.
Mike Murphy: It’s a fact, a sad fact, but that many men in the United States that look to escort services for sexual gratification, look to the Internet for sexual gratification —that doesn’t make them murderers.
Dennis Murphy, Dateline: If some people see this as sordid base behavior you’re saying we give it to you. We’re guilty of that behavior?
Mike Murphy: That’s what we said. If he was charged with adultery he’d be guilty, but he wasn’t. He was charged with murder.
But what was the jury making of the doctor’s account of that final walk through Morse’s Pond.
May straining her back, saying “You go on with the dog, I’ll meet you later.”
Dirk Greineder: After a minute or two, she persuaded me.
Mike Murphy: What then did you do? I decided to go the way we usually did and moved ahead of her leaving her to walk slowly. I walked down the path out to the circle.
The doctor then told the court about how he was separated from his wife for only about 10 minutes before he came back and found her lying in the path.
Dirk Greineder: (crying) All I could think of at the time was scoop and run, scoop and run which is what we used to say in the emergency room. And I couldn’t scoop her out of there. So I said, okay I’m going to get some help.
And, finally, the doctor would tell the jury—in no uncertain terms—that the police had fingered the wrong man.
Murphy: How did you feel about your family, doctor, on October 31, 1999?
Dirk Greineder: It was the most important thing to me in my life. More than work. More than fame. More than money.
Murphy: Doctor, did you kill your wife?
Dirk Greineder: I did not.
But the prosecutor had yet to cross-examine Dirk Greineder.
Would his story hold up? And the prosecutor had another surprise for the jury.
Doctor Dirk Greineder had told the court that he did not bludgeon and stab to death his wife, the woman he never stopped loving.
But now it was the prosecutor’s chance to cross-examine the star witness. And Grundy went right after the doctor challenging him on why he called a prostitute the day after May’s murder.
Rick Grundy, prosecutor: On October 31, 1999 you loved May?
Dirk Greineder: I love May now.
Grundy: On November 1st you loved May too, isn’t that correct sir?
Dirk Greineder: I love her now.
Grundy: (strong) And you called who on November 1st?
Dirk Greineder: I called Miss Doolio.
The prosecutor tried to show the doctor as a man who was looking to get out of his marriage.
Grundy: Can you tell the jurors, was there something that you expected would occur in the year 2000 that would make you a casual guy?
Dirk Greineder: No.
Grundy: Sir, you indicated that you met with a prostitute and she asked you if you’re married, didn’t she sir?
Dirk Greineder: She did.
Grundy: And you told her I’m separated. I’ve been separated for a long time. Divorce takes a long time, didn’t you sir?
Dirk Greineder: I did say that.
Grundy: And you told her sir, that you were getting divorced from your wife because she was old and soft, didn’t you?
Dirk Greineder: I did not. I did not say that exactly.
Grundy:Everything else is true but that you didn’t say?
Dirk Greineder: Not exactly that way.
But most importantly Grundy hoped to point out for the jury, the Harvard doctor had tripped himself up by being so locked into a detailed blueprint for murder that didn’t go according to plan.
Grundy: His story was fluctuating at best, even as those first moments at the crime scene.
Dennis Murphy, Dateline correspondent: Details count, don’t they?
Grundy: Absolutely and being able to recall and recount those accurately, as to the sequence that they’re told, the timing as to when they’re told.
And Grundy would tear into the doctor for NOW telling the jury that he picked up his wife three-times that morning, not once as he initially told the police.
To prosecutor Grundy, the doctor was now changing his story to adjust for the damaging blood spatter testimony he’d so attentively listened to in the courtroom.
Grundy: Today we hear that you actually tried to pick your wife up a number of times. Isn’t that correct sir?
Dirk Greineder: That’s correct.
Grundy: You never told the police that prior to today, did you sir?
Dirk Greineder: They never asked.
Grundy: When he got up there and he testified that he attempted to pick his wife up on three separate occasions that was so far and beyond anything he had ever said before that I think in my mind, at least, that was a crucial statement by him.
And Grundy pushed the doctor to explain how he could then lift his wife three times and still have no apparent blood on his hands.
Grundy: Sgt. Foley asked, “You know, why there was no blood on your hands and you stated that you didn’t know. He asked you if you had washed your hands and you had stated, ‘no the police have been with me the whole time. Do you recall telling Sgt. Foley that you hadn’t washed your hands because the police had been with you the whole time?
Dirk Greineder: I believe I do.
Grundy: There’s no blood on his hands, if you’re being honest with us, where is it? Tell us. Where’s the blood on your hands? How are you picking her up three times and not having blood on your hands?
And the state had another piece of evidence that was hugely important to its case.
Police had recovered the killer’s other glove and where it was found was what made it so explosive.
Police Chief Cunningham remembers the day after the murder, he decided to take a look at the drain before calling it quits.
He was shocked by what he discovered.
Cunningham: We found that second glove in a storm drain over 1500 feet from where the homicide had been committed but within 25 to 30 feet of where Dirk had his car parked.
Apparently, both Dirk Greineder and the killer were both where May’s body was found—and then took the same path out of the park.
Grundy: The defendant and the killer have now three areas within a very short window or period of time that they were both at.
Murphy: What does that do to his story he’s told you about this unknown assailant attacking his wife and heading out of that park?
Grundy: He is the single most unfortunate man who’s having a really bad day or he hasn’t told us everything.
The placement of the gloves, matching Greineder’s route through the park was troubling circumstantial evidence.
And when they analyzed the killer’s gloves and the knife at the lab, it got worse for the doctor. There was DNA found on the gloves that looked as though it came from Dirk Greineder.
The prosecutor also told the jury that there were strong signs of DNA on the knife that pointed to the doctor. According to the statistics used at the lab, Greineder was a likely match.
But defense attorney Murphy argued that the DNA lab has shifting standards.
Mike Murphy: So when cellmark first started to do forensic work on this case, the value that was set for recognizing a peak was 40, is that correct?
Murphy: And somewhere along the line it changed to 60.
Cotton: Yes, last spring.
And, most importantly, defense attorney Murphy called his own expert to explain why the doctor’s DNA could well be on the gloves and the knife.
Murphy: There’s only one possible explanation and that’s that at the time of the murder there was a phenomenon recognized in science known as secondary intersiary transfer where Dirk’s DNA ended up on that glove along with the DNA of the real killer.
“Transference:” Here’s the scientific theory that explains how the doctor’s blood ended up on the killer’s gloves and on the knife. Greineder said that morning of the walk, he got a nosebleed and so did his wife May. Then they shared a towel to clean their faces, so traces of his blood were then on her. DNA transferred by the towel. When the killer’s gloves touched May, they came away with traces of both the doctor’s DNA and that of his wife. And ditto for the knife.
Dirk Greineder: She had a nosebleed.
Murphy: Did your wife often have nosebleeds?
Dirk Greineder: Fairly often, I’d probably say at least once a month.
And the doctor said he got his nosebleed while getting the dog into the mini-van.
Dirk Greineder: She was jumping in and out of the van, banged her head banged my nose, not real hard but I guess hard enough to give me a nosebleed.
Two simultaneous nose bleeds...
Dennis Murphy: It sounds off the charts in probability…
Mike Murphy: It sounds off the charts in probability some might say, but there was clear forensic evidence that corroborated what he said.
Mike Murphy: Do have an opinion sir as to whether the DNA that was on the towel was likely to be transfered to Mrs. Greineder’s face as she held the towel to her nose?
Taylor: Certainly, I would expect some of it to...
And the defense still had a head-snapping piece of evidence...
Murphy would tell the jury that when he analyzed the DNA data he made a crucial finding. His expert found small traces of what they believe was unidentified DNA on May’s glove, on the murder knife, on the killer’s gloves and more.
It was DNA that Murphy said belonged to May’s killer.
Mike Murphy: It was on every significant piece of evidence in the case. It was on both of May Greinder’s gloves, the gloves that she wore out to the pond. It was on the knife that was used to kill her, it was on the gloves that were found in those storm drains. And most tellingly, there was the DNA of a unknown stranger, not May’s DNA, not Dirk’s DNA, under May Greineder’s fingernails. Whose DNA is that? Could only be the real killers.
Mike Murphy: Did you see DNA inconsistent with Dirk Greineder or May Greineder in the sample taken from May’s fingernails?
Murphy: They were never able to show whose DNA that was the state never offered any serious solid explanation for the fact that every significant piece of forensic evidence in this case had the DNA of someone who is not Dirk and who is not May. Who is that?
Prosecutor Grundy was beginning to sweat ...
Dennis Murphy: Did it worry you?
Rick Grundy, prosecutor: Sure.
Murphy: That day in court...
Murphy: This is gonna fit in with the theory of the killer who’s working the parks killing older people?
And sitting in the front-row every day, were the three super-achieving children of Dirk and May Greineder.
Mike Murphy: It’s a question of three bright intelligent children who know their mother, who know their father better than anyone and who know to their core that he is incapable of this horrible act.
And the doctor’s oldest child, Kirsten took the stand to tell the jury she had as close to a perfect childhood as anyone could ask for.
Kirsten Greineder: I had two parents who loved me, supported me and allowed me the opportunity to do everything I wanted.
And Kirsten—a whip-smart Yale-Harvard educated doctor herself—would tell the jury that she and her siblings worried that the faulty DNA tests would be used against her dad.
Kirsten Greineder: I recall having discussions about the transmitability of DNA from different surfaces and the potential for something to be obtained that would be able to be misinterpreted or and in fact make my father potentially look responsible for this.
And now after almost six-weeks of trial, 70 witnesses and almost 500 pieces of evidence, the doctor’s fate was about to be handed to the jury.
Mike Murphy: The stakes can never be higher at the end of the day you know he’s walking out of there with you or he’s going to go to jail for the rest of his life.
For four days and nights, 12 strangers were locked in an agonizing debate.
If convicted, Dirk Greineder would spend the rest of his life in prison.
Among the 12, they were a dentist, a professor, a bartender, a CEO, a postman, a banker, a housewife, a mathmetician, a college student, a medical supervisor, and an adverstising man: 7 men and 5 women.
In the jury room they took a straw poll.
Juror: It was a tough call because no one, not one witness testified seeing Dirk kill his wife and that made it very difficult right at the beginning. That we would have to decide this case on circumstantial evidence.
As the jury wrenched back and forth, they struggled to come to terms with the horror of it all:
Would Dirk Greineder—a doctor, father of three — brutally kill his wife, the mother of his children?
Cheryl, juror: That’s the difficulty of the case was really to look at such a horrible situation and in a way you are staring at what is the Adream. And you’re looking at it, and it looks back at you and reveals something horrible underneath that. None of us want to believe that. That something under the perfection and the accomplishments that something like this could happen.
But had the prosecutor scored any points with his theory that this was a man driven over the edge by sexual obsession?
Stan, juror: He was addicted to sex and pornography and hookers and a bunch of things that kind of hard for us to believe.
Sarah, juror: People have vices. People have things, whether you’re on the Internet flipping through porn pages, heck the guy sitting beside me at work could be doing the same thing. I don’t know.
Dennis Murphy, Dateline correspondent: It’s a leap for you to get from there to murder.
Sarah: It’s a big leap.
Stephanie: It bothered me for the character. But it did not change my opinion about his guilt or his innocence.
But some jurors found the doctor’s actions that morning in the park odd.
Why did he leave his dying wife?
Charlie: I’ve been married 32 years, quite a similarity. I couldn’t ever have left her. Even after she was dead.
Stan: The thing that has stuck with me—if one of my family members was on a trail injured there’s one person I would dream that would show up at that moment would be an emergency room-trained doctor. And that’s what he was.
But others were reluctant to read too much, too quickly into the doctor’s behavior that chaotic morning.
Sarah: If I were taking a walk with my husband, like I do every Saturday morning with my dog in a park, and I found my husband dead, I don’t know how I would react.
Murphy: So you gave him that?
Sarah: I gave him that.
But the jury was disturbed by links investigators made between the crime scene and the doctor’s home.
The zip lock bags:
Stan: I think it was the combination the bags matched those from his home as well as his story that may might have gotten them out of the boxes herself, and it didn’t really match up the fact that she would have picked different sizes. Plus her fingerprints were nowhere to be found.
Then there was this receipt for the nails. The hardware store records showed a hammer, like the one that killed May, purchased just minutes later.
Elaine, juror: We kept a list of the enormous number of coincidences that we would’ve had to accept in order to accept a belief in an unknown killer.
But how could the Harvard doctor be so stupid? If he was going to kill his wife, would he really leave a trail of clues?
It was a question the jury kept coming back to.
Juror: I couldn’t imagine an intelligent man going out on a Sunday morning in a busy park in a yellow rain jacket to kill his wife with a knife. I mean it made no sense at all.
Charlie: He’s not a professional murderer. He’s a professional doctor. But as a killer he’s an amateur.
And the prosecutor had shown the jury a picture every chance he got. It was the picture taken that morning of the doctor’s clean-looking hands. Greineder had told the police he tried to help his wife, his clothes were covered in blood, yet his hands appeared spotless.
Had the doctor killed May while wearing gloves?
Johan, juror: If you look at the blood as to where it was on his sleeve. It goes all the way down to the end of his sleeve and stops right where his hand begins.
Johan: Perfectly in a perfect line. That on a scale of one to ten, that’s getting close to nine.
But the jurors also wondered, if the police really were so suspicious of the doctor’s clean hands that day, if it was such an important observation, then why didnt they test them for blood?
Charlie: They didn’t test the hands and they could’ve tested the hands.
Jeff, juror: I thought that was a police weakness.
Murphy: So do you think the authorities locked in on one suspect and it was Dirk Greineder and they never really looked beyond that?
Sarah: I think it was a rush to judgment.
And the jury weighed heavily the other brutal murders in the neighboring parks.
Was there a psychopath on the loose, one the police had failed to track down?
Jeff: I live near the towns where two previous murders occurred within nine months of October 31, 1999 where this murder occurred. It was in back of my head that perhaps there could have been another serial killer that wanted to stalk Morse pond on that morning.
Murphy: The defense scored some points by telling you somebody thought they saw a car very near the murder scene?
Jeff: Yes they did.
But what about the seemingly endless testimony on DNA? Some DNA appeared to match up with the doctor’s and some to an unknown person.
The jurors were split.
Elaine: The point was that his DNA was in places that it had no business being.
But other jurors thought the DNA data helped the doctor.
Bill: There was this possibility of another person although there were very faint images of that.
But, perhaps most importantly ... the jurors struggled to come to terms with the man who took the stand.
Was he a grieving husband?Or a cold-blooded killer?
Stan: He couldn’t look up. That he couldn’t look at us while he testified. And despite the fact that his attorney was sending him signals to look at the jury, look at us’ pick your head up,’ he just couldn’t do it. His mannerisms were not those of a person that was feeling confident about what he was saying up on the stand. And that didn’t help him
Bill: I saw a man who cried without a lot of tears. I mean, I was watching closely to see how many tears he was shedding and he wasn’t shedding many tears, but he was crying a lot. His demeanor was solid as a rock. I watched him pick up the pitcher at one side bar and pour a glass of water and pick it up and he didn’t shake at all. That shocked me. That showed me a man who could probably be capable of just about anything.
Others saw a father filled with remorse, utter humiliation and profound grief.
Sarah: I thought he was a guy who had done this stuff, this second life, and was deeply, deeply sorry for it.
Murphy: So he improved his standing with you.
Sarah: With me.
Murphy: His reputation with you when he spoke in his own words?
Sarah: Yeah. He did.
What would they decide?
For four days, the jury methodically worked its way through each witness, each piece of evidence.
But they kept coming back to this: How did the second glove end up in a storm drain just feet away from the doctor’s minivan?
In the jury room they even constructed their own timeline to try to piece it together.
Bill, juror: Another assailant to have done this crime it would have been very difficult for him to get to where he had to go to put the weapon and the glove in that storm drain without being seen.
On the fourth day of deliberations, they called for a vote.
Stephanie: As we went through stuff and things were cleared up for different individuals they started leaning. The scales started tipping.
They counted the ballots. The jurors had finally, reluctantly reached a unanimous verdict.
They were 12.
Sarah: It was kind of quiet. I remember taking a deep breath going “oh my god.”
Juror: It made us sick. It was horrible.
Juror: Emotional. Lots of crying.
Stephanie: Many cried.
The prosecution, the defense, the reporters and spectators gathered in a hushed courtroom.
Tom Farmer, reporter, Boston Herald: It’s one of those moments where you know you’re going to witness something that you’ll never forget, one way or the other.
The jurors slowly filed in.
Juror: I was the closest to the children and the defendant. And I said to myself, “I’m going to do what I always do. Just walk in the same way, turn around. But I’ll tell you, my knees were shaking.”
Farmer: The foreman is standing up and he’s looking Dirk right in the eye. And Dirk is looking at him, he knows that this guy has got his life in his hands right now.
Stan: I thought it was important to look at him when we delivered the verdict. In that moment, I thought, “Well, if i’m gonna say it, I might as well look at him.”
Doctor Dirk Greineder was found guilty of bludgeoning and stabbing his wife to death during their morning walk through the park.
His children buckled. Greineder and his lawyer were crushed.
But the jurors—who had listened to almost six weeks of testimony—had made their decision.
When they stripped away the accomplishments, the Ivy League degrees and the picture of the pleasant house in a quaint New England town, they saw a family ruled by a tyrant.
Stan: Marty Murphy in his closing argument said ‘whoever did this would have to be evil.”
Juror: Yeah, evil.
Juror: And I think he summed it up.
Juror: To imagine what would happen in a family for something to get that point is just unimaginable.
Dr. Greineder's children still stand behind their father. They say they hope he'll be vindicated in the appeal.
© 2013 NBCNews.com Reprints