The mother of
53 58-year-old Douglas Brian Galvin asked his nephew in court Friday to apologize and explain to his family why he killed his uncle and set the body ablaze.
Kirk Michael Galvin, 25, of La Palma, said nothing at his sentencing hearing.
He'd cut a deal to have a first-degree murder count dropped in exchange for pleading guilty to second-degree murder, which earned him 15 years to life in state prison. One of Doug Galvin's sisters asked in her victim impact statement for a harsher sentence, but Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals said he was barred by law from imposing a stricter punishment.
Kirk Galvin murdered Douglas Galvin on July 27, 2011, in the La Palma apartment of Krik;s father, who was out of town. Kirk Galvin then drove the body to Santa Barbara County, dumped it in a remote area, and attempted to destroy the body by setting it on fire before fleeing the scene. Hikers found the charred remains on July 30, 2011.
A follow-up investigation by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department and La Palma Police Department resulted in Kirk Galvin's arrest on Aug. 5, 2011. The younger Galvin pleaded guilty on April 14 to one felony count of second degree murder.
He would have faced a much stiffer sentence if he'd been convicted of first-degree murder, and Judge Goethals gave a hint at sentencing on why the court and prosecutors may have been willing to show some leniency, according to Paul Anderson's City News Service report: "It appears mental illness did play a factor in this case."
That did not appease some family members of Doug Galvin, although others did saw they forgive Kirk Galvin, based on Anderson's reporting and an Orange County District Attorney's office sentencing statement.
Rosemary Galvin told her nephew it was a "vicious murder, Kirk, that you tried to cover up.'' Her brother slipping away with "the fear and confusion he must have felt when this nephew he loved'' was attacking him haunts Rosemary. But she added, "I have forgiven Kirk because I could not live with all that turmoil in my heart and mind. I hope while Kirk is in prison, he will make something of his life in honor of Doug."
"Kirk, I want you to know I forgive you," said Maureen Galvin, another aunt. "And I think Doug would forgive you, too, because he loved you so much. … I hope you can get help and I hope you can help others."
But she added she hopes Kirk Galvin never gets out of custody because he is too dangerous, something echoed by Doug Galvin's sister Judith Galvin Vargas. "I do not want to see him paroled period," she told the court. "What you did Kirk, was so horrendous, you will never get my forgiveness. You brought shame to yourself and your family."
The sisters, their mother Lenora Galvin and her youngest son all expressed how much they miss Doug Galvin, a Vietnam veteran known for his smiles and charity work, how deeply hurting the family was when his whereabouts were unknown and how the thoughts of his gruesome death still haunt them.
Judge Goethals mentioned he wished there was something he could do to ease the family's pain. Obviously the same laws that dictated his sentences include nothing about that.