NJ v. Christopher Gregor: Treadmill Abuse Murder Trial

Posted at 9:19 AM, May 17, 2024

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (Court TV) — The trial is underway in the case of a New Jersey father who allegedly forced his six-year-old son to run on a treadmill because he believed the boy was “too fat.” The child later died of injuries believed to be sustained from chronic abuse.

christopher gregor mugshot and portrait of corey

(L) Christopher Gregor (Orange County Jail, NJ)/(R) Corey Micciolo (Breanna Micciolo)

Christopher Gregor, 31, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and first-degree murder in the death of Corey Micciolo.

In court documents obtained by Court TV, investigators say surveillance footage from the fitness center at Gregor’s apartment complex shows Corey running on a treadmill as his father increases the speed on March 20, 2021. In the video, the boy stumbles and falls multiple times as he attempts to keep up. Gregor can be seen grabbing Corey by the shirt, and at one point, he appears to bite the child’s head.

Two weeks later, on April 2, Gregor said he brought his son to a hospital after the boy woke up from a nap stumbling, slurring his words, and experiencing nausea and shortness of breath. Corey was taken for a CT scan, where he began having seizures. Lifesaving measures were taken, but Corey could not be saved.

Dr. Dante Ragusa, an Ocean County medical examiner who performed an April 3 autopsy on Corey’s body, issued a finding on the cause of death: Blunt force injuries with cardiac and liver contusions with acute inflammation and sepsis. However, he did not rule on the manner of death; rather, he deemed it “undetermined.”

It wasn’t until a consulting forensic pathologist reviewed the case in September 2021 that the manner of death was determined to be homicide. Dr. Thomas Andrew believes Corey suffered an acute traumatic injury to the heart 4-12 hours before his death. Dr. Andrew found what he described as evidence of chronic abuse, including blunt impact injuries of the chest and abdomen with laceration of the heart, left pulmonary contusion, laceration and contusion of the liver.

Gregor was initially arrested for endangering the welfare of a child on July 7 for the treadmill incident. Authorities said he was “subsequently released as a consequence of New Jersey Bail Reform.” He was arrested for Corey’s murder on March 9, 2022.

Clarification: Gregor was charged in two separate incidents, each having different charges associated with them. The treadmill incident, which resulted in a charge of child endangerment (Count 1), occurred on March 20, 2021. On April 2, 2021 (Count 2), Corey died of blunt force trauma; no treadmill was involved. The charge of causing Corey’s death is described as Gregor “knowingly caused serious bodily injury resulting in the death of another.”

Gregor’s defense has also hired a consulting forensic pathologist who determined Corey’s manner of death was “natural.” Defense attorney Mario Gallucci clarified further in a written statement to Court TV that Corey’s death was caused by “complications from pneumonia.”

At the time of his death, the boy’s mother and Gregor shared joint custody. According to reports, Gregor was not present in Corey’s life until he was four. Corey’s mother, Breanna Micciolo, said she reported Gregor for abuse over 100 times, but no one took action. Breanna has since sued the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency for failing to protect Corey properly.

Gregor, who turned down a 30-year plea offer, is currently being held without bond in the Ocean County Jail. If convicted, he faces life in prison.


DAY 7 – 5/16/24

  • Scheduling note: the jury will not return to hear the case until Wednesday, May 22, when the state will call its last witness.
  • Sgt. Raymond Coles was recalled to the stand and questioned about Gregor’s alleged attempts to flee.
    • Coles testified that Gregor’s phone was moving away from the hospital for 24 hours with no attempts to return, and that it was placed into airplane mode.
  • Christopher Gregor’s attorney told Court TV that the defendant plans to take the stand in his own defense.

DAY 6 – 5/15/24

DAY 5 – 5/8/24

DAY 4 – 5/7/24

  • Sgt. Raymond Coles testified about Christopher Gregor’s phone search history. Searches in March and April of 2021 included: “Will red marks turn into bruises,” “Can your phone be tracked in airplane mode” and “Can my car be tracked?”
  • WATCH: Treadmill Abuse Murder Trial: Day 4 Recap

DAY 3 – 5/2/24

  • Dr. Ye Kyaw Aung, who evaluated Corey the night of April 1, 2021,  testified that aside from some bruises and scratches which varied by degree and age, Corey appeared to be in good health when he was discharged from Jersey Shore University Medical Center just after midnight on April 2, 2021, with no signs of infection or sepsis.
  • Gregor’s defense quizzed Aung on whether he followed the proper procedures in discharging Corey and releasing him to his mother in the early morning hours (around 1 am) of 04/02/2021.. Aung insisted that Corey’s blood work and other diagnostic tests came back within the normal range and that discharge with instructions to follow-up with a child abuse specialist was the appropriate step.
  • One of the investigators in the case, Sgt. Matthew Scutti, testified to the autopsy performed on Corey.
  • William Doyle, who worked as a triage nurse at Southern Ocean Medical Center, described seeing Gregor bring Corey to the emergency room on April 2.
  • WATCH: Treadmill Abuse Murder Trial: Day 3 Recap

DAY 2 – 5/1/24

  • Breanna Micciolo returned to the stand. During re-cross, the defense tried to attack her credibility by talking about ways she could have spent money raised from a GoFundMe page.
  • Juror #3 was dismissed after a sidebar, but the judge did not elaborate as to why.
  • Corey’s first-grade teacher testified that she noticed bruises on Corey and that the child had a change of demeanor in school.
    • During cross-examination, the defense tried to say that the bruises didn’t appear until Corey returned from his mother’s home.
  • Pediatrician Dr. Nancy Deacon, who saw Corey Micciolo for an ’emergency appointment’ in 2021, testified to the child’s injuries and what he told her happened.
    • Things became heated during cross-examination when the defense accused Deacon of changing her testimony between a pretrial hearing and trial. The court reporter read back testimony to reveal the only difference was linguistic: the term “prodded” or “pressed.”
    • WATCH: Treadmill Abuse Murder Trial: Pediatrician Details Corey’s Injuries
  • WATCH: Treadmill Abuse Murder Trial: Day 2 Recap

DAY 1 – 4/30/24

  • In their opening statement, the prosecution said they would present evidence showing Corey Micciolo was murdered by his father; specifically, that the six-year-old boy died as a result of physical abuse sustained while under Gregor’s sole care after Breanna Micciolo dropped him off at Gregor’s Barnegat townhome on April 2, 2021
  • Defense attorney Mario Gallucci painted Gregor as a responsible father trying his best to care for his son amid ongoing hostilities between Gregor and the boy’s mother, Breanna Micciolo
    • Gallucci tried to brace jurors for surveillance footage jurors they would see Tuesday afternoon showing Gregor increasing the treadmill’s speed and forcing Corey back onto treadmill after falling over several times
    • Gallucci told jurors Corey Micciolo died of natural causes, citing defense expert witness Michael Baden, M.D.
    • WATCH: Gregor Defense: Child’s Injuries Were From ‘Lifesaving Techniques’
  • Breanna Micciolo, the mother of Corey Micciolo, took the stand
  • WATCH: Treadmill Abuse Murder Trial: Day 1