Barnstable, Massachusetts

From the Boston Globe of August 17, 2007

Grand jury declines to indict Cape Cod doctor in husband’s death

Prosecutors are dropping the case against a Cape Cod doctor charged with fatally shooting her husband after a grand jury declined to indict her because of evidence he abused her.

The Barnstable County grand jury considered testimony from 27 witnesses who said Ann Gryboski, 51, was a victim of physical and psychological abuse by Patrick Lancaster, 50, her husband of more than 20 years, Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe office said in a statement Friday.

“This is a finding by the Grand Jury consistent with the evidence in this particular case,” O’Keefe said.

Gryboski has been free on bail after pleading not guilty in April to a murder charge. She had appeared in court with swollen eyes and bruises around her mouth, and the district attorney said then there were “mitigating factors” in her case.

Defense attorney Kevin Reddington did not immediately return calls seeking comment Friday.

But in a statement released by Robert Galibois, attorney for Gryboski’s son Chris, Reddington said he and Gryboski were pleased that grand jurors recognized that she acted in defense of herself and her son, according to the Cape Cod Times.

“This has been a very trying time for the doctor and her family and we hope that this unfortunate case will now be put behind her and she can get back to work with her patients and the job she loves,” Reddington said in the statement.

“Chris is immeasurably relieved that the court process is over,” Galibois said on behalf of his client. “He is grateful for the overwhelming support from family and friends during this difficult time.”
Reddington had said in court that the case was “pure and simple self-defense.”

“The bruises speak volumes about what happened,” Reddington has said. “She did what she had to do to protect herself and her children.”

Gryboski told police she shot her husband, a builder and charter boat owner, in their home on Easter Sunday after she attempted to intervene in an argument between him and one of their adult sons who confronted his father about his mother’s black eye and swollen face.

She told police that the night before the killing, her husband had repeatedly punched her as she drove with their 2-year-old grandson in the back seat.

When her husband came toward her on that Sunday, she fired two shots, hitting him in the torso, according to prosecutors.

“She went to him, cradled his body and said ‘I didn’t want it to end like this, I hope you find peace,'” O’Keefe said in his Friday statement.

O’Keefe said Friday doctors who examined Gryboski found head and facial trauma on the right side and a chipped tooth as well as a mild corneal abrasion and evidence of a previous nasal injury.

Gryboski, who specializes in internal medicine, has a Yarmouth practice, but had stopped practicing pending her case. A spokesman at Cape Cod Hospital said at the time of the slaying Gryboski had a discipline-free record.

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