A La Palma man who copped to murdering his uncle and setting the body on fire is expected to receive a sentence next month of 15 years to life in state prison.
Kirk Michael Galvin, who was originally charged with first-degree murder, pleaded guilty under a deal with the court to second-degree murder, which spared the 25-year-old of a much longer prison term at his scheduled May 23 sentencing.
Galvin went to his father's La Palma apartment when his dad was out of town on July 27, 2011, and murdered his 58-year-old uncle, Douglas Brian Galvin. The nephew then drove his uncle's body to a remote area of Santa Barbara County, where the corpse was set ablaze.
Three days later, relatives of Doug Galvin reported him missing in Orange County. Later that same day, a pair out for a walk discovered the charred body and contacted the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.
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Santa Barbara County sheriff's and La Palma police investigators joined forces to work the case that resulted in Kirk Galvin's arrest on Aug. 5, 2011.
Prosecutors never determined a motive for the killing. But Senior Deputy District Attorney Susan Price told City News Service that Galvin apparently wanted to take responsibility for the murder and went against the advice of his attorney, who advised going to trial, to plead guilty last Monday, April 14.
Douglas Galvin's obituary indicates he was a U.S. Navy veteran who served on the USS Hancock during the Vietnam War and that a scholarship was established in the Buena Park resident's name.