Custodial dad JOE GALVAN, along with the step, are now trying to see what kind of plea deal they can arrange in the murder of his 3-year-old daughter. Dad has already pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Just shows you how long the bar really is for dads and custody these days--you can be a convicted felon and still get custody of a preschool age girl. We've posted on this case before.
Galvans to stand trial in slaying
Father pleads guilty to firearm charge as habitual offender
By LIZ SHEPARD
• June 8, 2010
A Kimball Township couple next is expected to stand trial for charges stemming from the Jan. 15 death of 3-year-old Prhaze Galvan.
Jennifer and Joe Galvan were in St. Clair County Circuit Judge Daniel Kelly's courtroom Monday for plea hearings.
Joe Galvan, 26, Prhaze's father, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison because he is charged as a habitual offender. Jennifer
Galvan, 29, Prhaze's stepmother, did not plead guilty to any charges.
The Galvans were led into court separately for the plea hearings, but the cases will be joined for trial, which is expected to start June 15. The Galvans face charges including murder, torture and child abuse.
Joe Galvan spoke quietly Monday and dipped his head toward a microphone when answering questions posed by Kelly and John Livesay, his lawyer. He was shackled -- chains wrapped around his waist and padlocked over his orange jail clothing.
Jennifer Galvan -- also shackled in jail-issued clothing -- stood quietly next to her lawyer, Wyatt Harris, during the hearing. Her hair was pulled away from her face and trailed loosely down her back.
Several people who have been following the case were at the hearings. People also protested outside the Port Huron courthouse asking that justice be served for Prhaze.
Many hope the trial will be a chance for that justice.
Mary DeWitt, 63, of Brighton, who took care of Prhaze for nine months, said guilty verdicts for the Galvans would help bring some closure.
"I'm having a hard time dealing with Prhaze's death every day; once this is done, I know there will be justice," she said. "I want to see justice, and I want to see it done to the end."
Terrance Phillips, 51, of Jeddo used to live with Prhaze's grandmother and knows the family well. He plans to be in Kelly's courtroom next week.
"I want to see this all the way through," he said. "Justice needs to be done."
Livesay, Joe Galvan's lawyer, and Harris, Jennifer Galvan's lawyer, have filed motions asking that Kelly order a change of venue. Kelly hasn't ruled on the motions, saying he will attempt to seat a jury before making a decision.
Like Phillips, DeWitt said she and others plan to attend the trial. Many family
members and friends already have heard gruesome testimony about Prhaze's death and her life.
Prhaze died of blunt-force trauma to her head, and her body indicated "acute and chronic child abuse," a medical examiner testified during a February preliminary examination in district court. Witnesses provided a peek into Prhaze's life during the examination. Some testified she was made to take cold showers as punishment and that Joe Galvan tied a string from his wrist to her leg to keep her from going into the kitchen and eating at night
DeWitt said she "never felt this kind of grief" as with Prhaze's death.
"It is like I lost one of my children," she said.