Kristy was a highly intelligent, vivacious, beautiful young woman. She was an only daughter, and a big sister to 2 younger brothers Christopher, age 7, and Thomas age 16. She was a niece to my husband and I, and a cousin, close in age, to my own only daughter, and to my 2 sons. She was all this and so much more to dozens of other aunts and uncles, cousins, grandmothers and a grandfather. (Not to mention friends and co-workers.)

Kristy, a voracious reader, graduated third in her high school class in June, and was offered a full academic scholarship to a local university. In high school, she was the editor at the yearbook, a member of the national honor society, co-editor of the high school newspaper, a member of SADD, and a member of the Quill & Scroll society. 

Her first day of college life was to be August 28th, 2000. She was so excited to begin this journey. Her new clothes left hanging on her closet door, college textbooks and notebooks piled on the dining room table, she was ready for school when she left for work on August 27th. 

Kristy rose early that day to go and open the Wendy's restaurant where she had worked her way up in 2 years to assistant manager. As she left the house only her brother Thomas was awake, as he had to work that morning also. They said goodbye and off she went. She had been scheduled to work that evening, but requested a change to open instead because she was going to take her 7 year old brother to see the Nickelodeon show that evening.

When the first employee came to the door a couple of hours later, he couldn't get in. He pounded on the door, but Kristy didn't answer. He looked in her car, she wasn't there. He looked in the drive-thru window, there was her purse and work shirt on the counter. Still she didn't answer. He went to the grocery store next door and phoned police. When police arrived they broke the drive-thru window because Kristy still did not answer. 

We can only imagine what they saw when they got in. The DA said that she had been beaten with a hammer and stabbed with an item, yet to be found, up to 75 times. Blood, hair, and skull were everywhere. She had fought, they knew because of the amount of cuts on her hands and arms. In his description of the crime he used the word torture on more than one occasion.

Kristy was buried in her prom gown. A lovely pink gown with sparkles on the bottom.

A week and a day after her death, they arrested Kristy's murderer, an older co-worker. After examining the cards from the funeral, we found that he had sent flowers. No one knew which of the arrangements of flowers were from the murderer, just that they were among those lying on top of the cold ground where Kristy was laid to rest. Though he still claims his innocence, the evidence is overwhelming. His motive is still unknown.

UPDATE: Andrew Vikara was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for Kristy's murder.  On January 10, 2002, Vikara was found dead in his cell at Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.

A scholarship has been set up at the University Kristy was to attend. If you would like to send a donation here is the address:

The Kristy Grega Memorial Scholarship Fund 
c/o Marywood University
300 Adams Avenue
Scranton, PA 18509

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News Articles

Co-worker arrested in Grega killing

Andrew Vikara III is charged with homicide in what DA Jarbola says is "... probably the most horrible beating death I've ever seen ..."

DUNMORE - Kristy Grega worked with her killer and most likely let Andrew Vikara III inside the Wendy's restaurant where police said he beat her to death with a hammer and stabbed her during a bloody struggle. Vikara, 36, was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home on South Webster Avenue on Scranton's South Side. He offered no resistance and is held without bail on a single count of criminal homicide. Other charges are expected to be filed as the investigation continues, authorities said. There is no indication Grega was sexually assaulted. "This is probably the most horrible beating death I've ever seen or been involved with," said Lackawanna County District Attorney Andrew Jarbola. "It was a terrible, terrible way to die ... the amount of blows to the head and face area." The arrest affidavit detailed a struggle took place in the office and kitchen areas where blood was found on the walls and floors. A hammer was found near Grega's body, but the instrument used to stab and scratch her has not been found. Also missing is more than $2,000 in cash and a gray money bag from the open safe. Vikara said nothing as police led him from the state police barracks at Dunmore to his arraignment before District Justice Thomas Golden. As he was being led from his home, Vikara told a news reporter he was not responsible for the murder. A woman who answered the phone at Vikara's home shortly after his arrest said his family is convinced he is innocent. "He's never hurt anybody. That's all I can say," said the woman, who did not identify herself. Jarbola said investigators have not come up with a motive. "There are several possibilities as to motive, but we don't have to prove that as part of our case." Also undetermined is whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty. Jarbola said that decision will be made after the preliminary hearing and talking to Grega's family. Grega, of Throop, was a model employee who worked her way up in the business and was set to start school Monday at Marywood University on a full scholarship. As an assistant manager she supervised Vikara, who worked at the restaurant for approximately two years, said David Boughman, owner of the restaurant. "This is something that happens elsewhere and doesn't happen in Dunmore, Pennsylvania," Boughman said. Boughman said he knew of no problems between Vikara and Grega. He added police have told him there was no forced entry into the restaurant Grega was to open at 6:30 that morning. "It was payroll weekend ... so if he would have knocked on the door and said, 'Kristy, I didn't get my check Saturday, can I get it?' She would have said, 'Sure,'" said Boughman. The arrest affidavit said Vikara's thumb print was found on an unopened box of doughnuts inside the restaurant. In addition, size 12 EE shoes like the kind employees saw him wear were found covered with traces of blood and hair in Nay Aug Park, where investigators located other evidence - including Grega's paycheck torn in half. Vikara became a suspect early on, Jarbola said. But the big break came Tuesday when someone found Grega's check. A search of the park turned up the shoes and bloody gloves and mesh towels similar to the type used at the restaurant. Investigators later obtained search warrants for Vikara's home and to take blood and hair samples from him. Taken from the house were mesh towels like the ones found in the park and two pair of size 12 W shoes, the affidavit said. The Grega family was alerted to the pending arrest Thursday afternoon, Jarbola said.  They were contacted "just to put them at ease," he said. "This will begin some type of closure for them because they're just devastated." Contacted at the family's Pearl Street home, Grega's father, Thomas, said the family did not wish to comment on the arrest. Vikara gave a statement, but Jarbola would not elaborate on it. Most of Vikara's neighbors were reluctant to speak after the arrest. One woman, who asked not to be identified, said she spoke with Vikara on Wednesday. "I was talking to him and I told him the person that did this should be hung up by their feet. He didn't bat an eye. After I said that he jumped up and he said he had to go." An attorney for Vikara offered his condolences to the family. "It was definitely a tragic incident," said attorney Nicholas Fick. "My heart goes out to the family." Fick said he has not seen the evidence against Vikara and has not had an in-depth discussion with him. He warned about prejudging Vikara. "At this point, he is presumed innocent. Vikara has a criminal conviction from 1998 in Lackawanna County for impersonating a police officer. Police said Vikara posed as a Scranton police officer and convinced a prostitute to have sex with him so he would not arrest her. Police credited "extensive cooperation and leads" from citizens with helping in the arrest. They are still asking that anyone with information contact state police at 963-3156.  Investigators had released few details of the killing during the investigation, which involved approximately 20 investigators from the state police, Dunmore police and Lackawanna County detectives who worked around the clock. The silence was maintained to safeguard the progress of the investigation, Jarbola said. " A lot of information has to be kept close to the vest," Jarbola said. "It could be crucial in regards to an interview." 

Shouts of anger erupt as crowd sees suspect

DUNMORE - Huddled on the sidewalk and front porches, dozens of people waited Thursday evening to catch a glimpse of the man whom police call a killer. They had come to see Andrew Vikara III, who was led before District Justice Thomas Golden of Dunmore, charged with one count of homicide in the beating death of 18-year-old Kristy Grega. A flood of emotions surged through the crowd as Vikara exited a police car, prompting jeers and applause from the adults and children. Many in the crowd were convinced Vikara is guilty. "Fry in hell, you dirty bastard," yelled one of the onlookers. "You deserve to die. ...," yelled another. Grega, of Throop, was found dead Sunday morning at the Wendy's restaurant on the O'Neill Highway in Dunmore. Vikara walked methodically toward Golden's office and said nothing to the crowd or reporters who asked if he killed Grega. "I'm happy they caught him," said one local woman who declined to give her name. "It's sad. It's sad that someone could be that rotten." Del Kalinowski showed up at Golden's office because the death happened in her neighborhood. She congratulated and thanked Jarbola on a "great job." Not all members of the crowd heckled the suspect. Some kept their distance and declined to speak out because of fear. A 19-year-old mother holding her 2-month-old infant stood quietly in the back of the crowd, but close enough to see Vikara's face. Although she did not know the victim or Vikara, she said Grega's murder had her questioning her own safety as a worker at a local Turkey Hill Minit Market. Local parents who watched their children play as Vikara exited the building said they were glad the "animal" would be brought to justice. "It's scary because it was right here and not somewhere else like you usually hear," said one father, who said he had been keeping a "closer eye" on his children since Sunday. "Now we don't have to be afraid to let our children play." 

Cops: Suspect talked self into arrest

Andrew Vikara will stand trial in the homicide of 18-year-old co-worker Kristy Grega.

11/4/00 - SCRANTON - Attempts by Andrew Vikara to distance himself from the Aug. 27 beating death of a fast-food restaurant co-worker brought police right back to him. Investigators testified Friday at Vikara's preliminary hearing statements he made contradicted evidence collected early in the search for the killer of Kristy Grega. The evidence satisfied District Justice Robert Russell enough to bind Vikara over for trial in Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas on charges of homicide, robbery and theft. "We have a very strong case against Mr. Vikara," Lackawanna County District Attorney Andrew Jarbola said Friday. By Vikara's arraignment next week, Jarbola said, he will decide whether to seek the death penalty for the 36-year-old Scranton man. No tangible evidence was presented at the hourlong hearing that picked up where the session from Oct. 27 left off. Last week prosecution witnesses had testified about the relationship between Vikara and Grega, 18, who was his supervisor and assistant manager of the restaurant. They also told of finding more than $2,000 in cash in the building where Vikara lived. Investigators said a similar amount was missing from the restaurant safe. On Friday, state Trooper Joseph Pacifico and Lackawanna County Detective Joseph Jordan testified of the hair, clothing, shoes and fingerprints they collected from Vikara and his explanations to dispute the case mounting against him. The pair interviewed Vikara as part of the investigative team assigned to question restaurant employees. On their first visit to Vikara's South Webster Avenue apartment the day of Grega's death, Pacifico said, he saw what appeared to be a fresh bruise on the right hand of Vikara. Whoever killed Grega struggled with her because there was blood found on the floors and walls inside the restaurant, Pacifico said. The two investigators returned a few hours later to ask Vikara to clarify earlier statements he made, Pacifico said. Vikara had said he overheard Grega talking to a co-worker on Aug. 26 that she was out until early that Saturday morning with a person by the name of Gary. Pacifico said the investigation determined Vikara was off by a day. "He would have had to have heard this Sunday morning, the day of the murder." By the time they arrived for the second visit, investigators learned a thumbprint taken from a doughnut box found inside the restaurant matched Vikara's. When asked about it Vikara disputed the evidence and wanted to be fingerprinted. Vikara also agreed to provide clothing and shoes to investigators and have his car searched. By the next day, Aug. 28, investigators decided to watch Vikara around the clock, Pacifico said. When asked in another interview about buying doughnuts at a Main Street shop, Vikara also denied it, saying he did not go to the shop on the city's West Side. But Pacifico said he made no reference to the West Side when questioning Vikara. As the investigation progressed during the next two days, police recovered Grega's torn paycheck in the Nay Aug Park area and bloody gloves and shoes similar to the kind Wendy's workers said they saw Vikara wear on the job. The day before his arrest on Aug. 31, police used a search warrant to obtain hair, blood, saliva and nail clippings from Vikara. Vikara had cooperated with police throughout the investigation, his public defender Doug Clark pointed out. The defense attorney asked Pacifico whether investigators checked whether a homeless man who had been using the restaurant's restrooms to bathe might have something to do with Grega's death. Pacifico said he heard about the tip but did not put much credence in it. "He's the only person that I know of that brought that up," Pacifico said of Vikara. 

Suspect in killing cool to victim, witness testifies

10/28/00 - SCRANTON, PA - A former manager at Wendy's told a judge Friday he spoke to Kristy Grega and Andrew Vikara the day before police officers smashed a drive-through window at the restaurant where they worked and found her beaten, lifeless body inside on a blood-covered hallway floor. As Vikara sat in shackles next to his attorneys, John Battle told a packed courtroom of friends, family and reporters that during a brief conversation on Aug. 26, Vikara told him, "I didn't care too much about the bitch." Much of Battle's testimony attempted to illustrate Grega's and Vikara's characters while shedding a dim light on a possible motive. During a six-hour preliminary hearing at the Lackawanna County Central Court, prosecutors presented several other witnesses who offered testimony about the slaying and the events leading to Vikara's arrest. Vikara, 36, was charged in the summer in the beating death of 18-year-old Grega, an assistant manager at the fast-food restaurant in Dunmore. She was killed Aug. 27, one day before she would start school at Marywood University on a full scholarship. Vikara has been held without bail in the Lackawanna County Prison since his arrest on Aug. 31. At the hearing, prosecutors started their case with expert testimony and the analysis of forensic evidence, which included hair and blood samples taken from the crime scene and Vikara's body, car and shoes. Defense attorneys tried poking holes in the prosecution's case by asking witnesses about a homeless man who was believed to have been using the restaurant's bathroom in the weeks prior to Grega's death. The hearing will be continued next week because witnesses for the defense were working out of state on Friday. Three fingerprints that matched Vikara's were among the key pieces of evidence gathered by investigators. The fingerprints were discovered by investigators on a strawberry-colored donut box. The box was found on a food preparation table in the restaurant on the morning of the slaying. Investigators also testified that Grega, who opened the restaurant the morning of her death, struggled with her attacker before she was beaten with a hammer. Loose change lay on the floor near the safe and a gray money bag, containing more than $2,600, was missing. Prosecutors introduced a letter allegedly written by Vikara directing his landlord to a plastic bag containing thousands of dollars. Taking the stand, Vikara's landlord, William Donovan, said he received the letter from the Lackawanna County Prison in early October. He searched for the money bag and found it wrapped in rugs in the basement of the house he owns on South Webster Avenue in Scranton. "He said to keep it and get the rugs clean," Donovan told prosecutors. During cross-examination, defense attorneys alluded to the possibility that the money came from Vikara's lottery winnings. Investigators detailed the injuries that caused Grega's death and what likely happened the morning of her death. Lackawanna County coroner Joseph Brennan told the courtroom that Grega's body - which was discovered by police in a pool of blood - sustained at least 75 blows from a hammer and a stab to her back from a unknown object. Another witness said he saw clumps of hair, pieces of skull and splattered blood near Grega's body in the hallway of the Wendy's. As witnesses gave testimony during the morning and afternoon, an unshaven Vikara, wearing a maroon jacket, glasses and black sneakers, sat motionless facing the front of the courtroom.