The wife of the man who murdered 5-year-old Destiny Norton is busy making improvements in her own life and says she is better off now that the killer is behind bars.
Catherine Elin Gregerson, 23, on Wednesday straightened out some misdemeanor charges in court and later said she is recovering from the horror of learning she — unbeknown to her — had been married to a man who murdered and sexually violated a child.
Craig Roger Gregerson, 21, is serving a term of life in prison without parole for kidnapping and killing young Destiny in 2006.
Catherine Gregerson was separated from Craig at the time of the slaying and previously was described as a "battered wife" by her defense attorney in court documents.
Today, she looks healthy, says she is feeling better, has a job, is getting therapy and plans to divorce Craig Gregerson.
She also has decided not to place the couple's 21-month-old daughter, Lilly, for adoption. Instead, Catherine Gregerson is raising the girl herself with child care arranged for her work schedule.
She proudly displays cell-phone photos that show a pretty, smiling little girl with blue eyes and short blond hair.
"She's a girly-girl" who prefers dresses over pants, likes to carry purses and pretends to chat on a cell phone, Catherine said.
On Wednesday, Catherine Gregerson pleaded no contest to a class A misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief, which stemmed from a situation where her husband had their baby inside their home, locked her out and shouted that she'd never see the child again.
Catherine Gregerson kicked the screen door and ultimately got the baby back but was cited with criminal mischief for damaging the door.
Third District Judge Judith Atherton put Gregerson on probation for six months as part of a plea bargain agreed to by prosecutors and defense attorneys. The arrangement includes a "plea in abeyance," which means if Gregerson has no other violations of the law during that six-month period, the legal slate is wiped clean.
Salt Lake City has 45 days to determine what restitution should be paid for damage to the door.
Atherton dismissed another charge of class A misdemeanor domestic violence in the presence of a child, which arose from the same incident. An entirely different case, involving a dispute between Gregerson and her mother, also was dismissed.
Defense attorney Delano Findlay said the criminal mischief situation arose on April 27, 2006, when Catherine Gregerson was separated again from Craig Gregerson during their rocky marriage.
Findlay told the judge that Catherine got sick and asked her estranged husband to watch the baby while she rested. But when she got to their home, he was in a chat room with another female, representing himself as a single man, which made Catherine jealous.
Findlay said an argument ensued, Craig Gregerson knocked Catherine to the floor and hit her with an object, then shoved her out the door and locked it, threatening to keep the baby. She kicked the screen door and eventually got the baby back but was charged with criminal mischief.
Outside the courtroom, Findlay said Catherine received a large cut on her arm from Craig, and the lawyer displayed a color photo of her holding the baby with a bloodied arm. That is one reason why Findlay considers it unfair that Catherine Gregerson got charged with a misdemeanor when her husband was the one at fault.
"I recognize police have a tough job to do," Findlay said. "They believed Craig."
Although her life has improved over the past year, Catherine Gregerson said she still gets flak from people who cannot separate her as an individual from their revulsion over her husband's crimes, which she said she knew nothing about and had nothing to do with.
"I wish people would stop judging me," she said. "I've lost so many friends over this."
She also is haunted by the grief the Nortons must be experiencing. "My heart goes out to the Nortons. I think about them every day."