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MAN'S DOUBLE LIFE COMES TO LIGHT AS HE'S SOUGHT IN MURDER OF WIFE

MAN'S DOUBLE LIFE COMES TO LIGHT AS HE'S SOUGHT IN MURDER OF WIFE

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Sometimes he was Greg, a loving husband and devoted student working hard to finish a graduate degree in history at the University of Texas in San Antonio so he could join his wife in Vermont and begin rearing a family.

But at other times he was Stephen, a ne'er-do-well who did not attend class, could not keep a job, was arrested for soliciting a prostitute and spent his afternoons carousing and playing pool. All the while, investigators now believe, he was calculating a cold-blooded killing.

The inquiry into the strange death of Amy Fitzgerald just gets stranger as detectives piece together evidence pointing to the double life of Gregory Fitzgerald, 36, also known as Steve or Stephen Fitzgerald, a Newton native now the object of a nationwide manhunt in the strangulation slaying of his 30-year-old wife.

Amy Zeltserman Fitzgerald, also of Newton and a decorated Army captain pursuing a master's degree at the University of Vermont, was found dead in her Vermont condominium May 11, barely a week before her husband was scheduled to join her in Shelburne, Vt. -- an event that could have revealed the two faces of his complex, twisted life, family members say.

According to Dave Zeltserman of Brookline, Mass., her 33-year-old brother, the woman was eagerly awaiting her husband's graduation, so he could move from Texas to Vermont, where she was on educational leave from the Army to get the graduate degree in medical technology.

"Amy was totally conned by him. She loved him and was looking forward to going to Texas in just another week to help him move to Vermont," Zeltserman said. "She thought he'd be teaching history and they'd start having kids. My poor sister had no idea what was really going on."

Neither, apparently, did the family he lived with in San Antonio.

"As far as we knew, they had a good marriage. We thought he went to school during the day, and in the evenings he usually told us he was going to the library," said Marie Oberwetter, a nurse who rented a room in her home to him.

When she heard about the slaying and Fitzgerald's lengthy criminal record, "it was like a different person they were talking about," she said. "I thought he was a friend, and he seemed very knowledgeable about history. He never seemed like a small-town punk."

But, in fact, according to police and university officials, Gregory Fitzgerald was not enrolled at the University of Texas. And "at least two or three afternoons a week" -- as Stephen -- he went to a nearby watering hole "to play pool," said Darrell Moore, the bartender at The 106, which he described as "a little neighborhood gay bar" in Alamo Heights adjoining San Antonio.

It was also as Stephen that he was charged with soliciting a streetwalker in Jacksonville, Fla. He was caught because the woman posing as the prostitute "was actually a decoy policewoman," said Lt. Frank Thornton of the Shelburne police.

Fitzgerald was also arrested, as Stephen, on charges of resisting and opposing a police officer, and, as Gregory, on charges of assault and battery, fraud, larceny, operating recklessly, and destruction of property.

Asked about the reasons for Fitzgerald's bizarre double life as Greg and Stephen, Thornton said, "It's a mystery to us. But he seems to have compartmentalized his life into these two sections."

According to the affidavit filed with the warrant for Fitzgerald's arrest, he had two Social Security numbers and a separate address where bills and correspondence could be mailed to him without his wife's knowledge.

Whether Amy suspected her husband was trying to deceive her is a "haunting question," Thornton said. But he added that "everything her friends have indicated is that she was very much in love with him."

"She was a very loyal, trusting person, and also gullible," Zeltserman said. When family or friends raised suspicions about Greg, "she didn't want to believe them, or maybe she thought she could turn him around," he said.

Zeltserman thought that she also had no idea about someone known only as Lisa -- the woman who, according to the affidavit, was Fitzgerald's girlfriend in Texas. Authorities think that there's "a good possibility" that Fitzgerald currently is traveling with Lisa, Thornton said, although police have no idea where the couple is now.

According to friends and family members, Gregory Fitzgerald was born in Newton, graduated from Newton North High School, and worked off and on as an automobile mechanic. He met Amy Zeltserman about 10 years ago, when friends introduced them. They married in 1987 and had no children.

Investigators allege that he strangled her early on the morning of May 8, after a struggle. They have not yet determined a motive in the slaying, although the affidavit notes that Greg stood to gain about $106,000 in military benefits and an undetermined amount from a money-market account in the event of his wife's death.

Authorities think that Fitzgerald is traveling somewhere in the continental United States and is armed and dangerous.

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Officers responding to a 911 call about 11:08 a.m. found the victim in a home on Highgate Avenue, between Parkridge and Cordova avenues, just south of the University at Buffalo's South Campus.

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