Friday, August 6, 2010

Custodial dad, step to be sentenced in murder of 3-year-old daughter (St. Clair County, Michigan)

Custodial dad JOE GALVAN and the step, who were both found guilty of felony murder, torture, and 1st-degree child abuse, are to be sentenced today. Meanwhile, investigation into the St. Clair County Department of Human Services continues.

We've posted on this case many times in the past few months.

Galvans to be sentenced today

Times Herald
• August 6, 2010

After weeks of testimony detailing the abuse inflicted on 3-year-old Prhaze Galvan, the murder case against her father and stepmother is expected to end today.

The couple is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. by Circuit Judge Daniel Kelly.

Joe Galvan, who is Prhaze's father, and Jennifer Galvan, her stepmother, were found guilty in June by a jury of felony murder, torture and first-degree child abuse.

Prhaze died Jan. 15 of blunt-force trauma to her head. She was found unconscious in the Galvans' Kimball Township home before being pronounced dead at St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron.

Mary Dewitt, who cared for Prhaze for about nine months, said it has been a long, trying year.

"I feel that Joe didn't ever want her. She was a piece of property to him," Dewitt said. "He took her out of my home, where she was loved and cared for, and (they) beat her. ... Not even a dog should be treated like she was treated."

During the nearly monthlong trial, several witnesses testified they saw Prhaze with bruises and being severely punished. A medical examiner detailed injuries found on the child during her autopsy and pointed out the multiple points of impact on her head that resulted in her death.

Throughout the trial, autopsy photos were projected in the courtroom as witnesses detailed the signs of abuse on Prhaze's bruise-riddled body and her gaunt frame witnesses said was the result of her being starved.

Dewitt said she anticipates a large crowd to come to the courthouse today. She said a gathering is planned at Prhaze's grave after the hearing.

"She was a loving little girl who didn't ask for anything but love in return," Dewitt said.

As the court case wraps up, an investigation into the St. Clair County Department of Human Services continues.

Charlotte Smith, acting supervisor with Michigan's Office of Children's Ombudsman, said the DHS was given the independent agency's findings and recommendations and had 60 days from the day they received the report to respond. She would not be more specific.

Lauren Hager of Port Huron Township, a former state lawmaker, and Sen. Jud Gilbert, R-Algonac, filed complaints that launched the investigation.

Smith said her office cannot enforce any recommendations but said the investigated agency usually follows them. She would not go into further detail about the case.