ALFRED – Calvin DeGreenia said the anger pent up inside him snapped when he grabbed his girlfriend by the throat and choked her.

“As soon as I realized what I was doing, I did apologize and I left the residence. And then I paid my dues, done my time for this,” DeGreenia testified Friday in York County Superior Court.

The incident in March 2011 is new information that lawyers are citing in their bid for a new trial for Jason Twardus, who is serving a 38-year prison sentence for murder in the 2007 strangling death of Twardus’ former fiancee, 30-year-old Kelly Gorham.

Twardus’ attorneys argued during his trial in 2010 that DeGreenia and another man were responsible for Gorham’s death and framed Twardus for the crime. The defense now argues that DeGreenia’s assault on his girlfriend — who is now his wife — is important evidence that was not available in the trial.

It’s significant that DeGreenia, believed to be one of the last people to see Gorham alive, attacked his girlfriend in a manner similar to the way Gorham was killed, according to the defense.

The other new information involves the late John Durfee, the defense’s other alternative suspect. The defense contends that Durfee made incriminating statements to another York County Jail inmate before he died last year, and that prosecutors did not disclose that information in a timely manner.

During Friday’s hearing, defense lawyer Daniel Lilley questioned DeGreenia about whether he has problems with anger, whether he knows what a batterer is and how many times he has struck his wife.

“You are not always gentle with a woman you love. Do you agree with that?” Lilley asked.

“Yeah, but I don’t see how that pertains to the case,” DeGreenia replied.

DeGreenia said he had feelings for Gorham but hadn’t known her long enough to be in love with her.

He said he and his wife have been physically abusive to each other but she has never gotten in trouble for it. In describing another assault on her for which he served jail time, DeGreenia said it was a spur-of-the-moment situation.

“I think every woman knows how to push a man’s buttons,” he said.

Lilley asked whether Gorham pushed his buttons.

“I never got to a point in a relationship with her where I could say that,” DeGreenia said.

DeGreenia’s wife, Dawn, also testified Friday. The two married in April — on the day he was released from jail for the incident in March 2011 at their home in Nashua, N.H.

Dawn DeGreenia testified that redness in her left eye, as photographed by police, was likely the result of an earlier fight she had with a woman in the apartment building.

She denied telling a neighbor that she thought her eye would burst during the choking incident and said it was police, not she, who said blood vessels had burst because of the choking. She said she has never been afraid of her husband.

“He’s not really an angry person,” she said. “He has a lot of childhood things he needs to get out. He needs to talk to someone. When he does, I’m sure he’ll feel a lot better. He’s a completely different person” since his release from jail.

Twardus attended Friday’s hearing but did not speak.

Deputy Attorney General William Stokes, the prosecutor, did not question either witness.

“It’s pretty meaningless testimony, pretty meaningless evidence as far as we’re concerned. That’s why we had no questions.” he said outside the courthouse. “It has nothing to do with the Kelly Gorham homicide — or Jason Twardus.”

The hearing is scheduled to continue May 25.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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