A Massachusetts man is free on bail following his Tuesday court appearance in connection with a fatal high-speed crash in Leominster that claimed the life of a Framingham woman.
Gregory McNally, 35, of Leominster, pleaded not guilty to a single count of second-degree murder at his arraignment Tuesday in Worcester Superior Court.
He was indicted on the charge Friday and had previously been charged with motor vehicle manslaughter in the July 22, 2018 crash that claimed the life of 35-year-old Emilia Ortiz of Framingham.
Police said McNally admitted to them that he got into an argument with Ortiz while driving her SUV down Johnny Appleseed Lane. He allegedly told police he was "enraged" and "wanted to scare" her, so he purposely "put the accelerator all the way down to the floorboard."
Investigators said the SUV was going 86 miles per hour when it slammed into two trees and a fire hydrant. They said McNally jerked the steering wheel to the left just prior to the crash so the passenger side took the brunt of the impact.
Ortiz, a mother of two teenagers, was killed instantly.
Prosecutors said McNally might have tried to kill Ortiz twice last summer – first crashing his pickup truck into a cement wall a month before the fatal crash.
Investigators said a restraining order that Ortiz filed in between the two crashes could shed light on a motive.
"She was trying to break up with the defendant. He told her, 'If I can't have you, no one will,'" Assistant District Attorney Julianne Karcasinas said.
Defense attorney Ed Ryan said both his client and Ortiz were victims of addiction.
"She had a 3.0 blood alcohol and that's almost in a coma. My client didn't want her drinking anymore, and that's what she wanted to do," Ryan said.
Ortiz's sister, Paula Molov, said outside of court Tuesday that her family just wants justice.
"She didn't deserve this," said Molov "She was a hard worker. She had so many friends. She was a great mother, a great sister. A great daughter."
McNally was ordered held on $25,000 bail which his mother posted later in the day. He was ordered to be placed under GPS monitoring and undergo random drug testing.
McNally is due back in court Aug. 7.