Maui News

Criminal Complaint Filed in Nakalele Murder; Hearing Set

September 8, 2011, 1:36 PM HST
* Updated September 8, 5:22 PM
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By Wendy Osher

Celestial Cassman, photo courtesy Hawaii News Now.

A criminal complaint was filed in Lahaina Second Circuit Court on Maui on Tuesday against Gerald W. Galaway Jr., in a case involving the death of Celestial Cassman on Maui.

The complaint stems from the September 1, 2011 report of a domestic dispute in which responding officers recovered the body of a woman, and took a man into custody after he allegedly fled from police and jumped from a cliff at Nakalele.

The 51-page complaint, filed by the County Prosecutor’s Office lists two counts including allegations of murder in the second degree and kidnapping.

The complaint alleges Galaway, “intentionally, or knowingly restrained Celestial Cassman with intent to inflict bodily injury upon her or subject her to a sexual offense.”  The complaint further labels the allegations as, “especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel.”

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The document sought judicial determination of probable cause to extend restraint of Galaway who remained hospitalized today.

Nakalele murder investigation. Photo by Wendy Osher.

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Defense Attorney William Sloper, who is representing Galaway, refrained from comment today on his client, saying simply that, “he’s presumed innocent.”

While the criminal complaint identified those allegedly involved in the incident, the Maui Police Department (MPD) refrained from confirming the names.

As of noon today, charges had yet to be filed against the male individual who remained confined to a hospital room, said MPD Lt. Wayne Ibarra.

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The cause of death and identity of the victim was pending positive identification by the woman’s family, who was expected to arrive on Maui tonight, said Lt. Ibarra.

Crime scene of Nakalele murder. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Police confirmed earlier that both the male individual and the deceased woman had checked into a Ka’anapali hotel on August 31.  The two were visiting from Santa Cruz, California, according to sources.

According to police reports included in the complaint, dispatchers received an initial call from a witness who related to authorities that a woman was seen attempting to flee a vehicle in the Kahekili Highway area on the night of September 1.  The document further states that a subsequent caller told dispatchers that a “male was observed trying to drag the female down to the cliffs.”

According to the document, one of the witnesses told authorities that the woman asked for help before being grabbed by a male individual.  The witness told authorities that the male was observed lifting the woman up and slamming her body to the asphalt road several times, as the woman kicked and screamed for help, according to police reports included in the criminal complaint.

Bail for Galloway was set at $500,000, according to the criminal court records included in the complaint.

A status hearing is scheduled for Friday in which the state is expected to provide updated information on the defendant’s condition.

*** Check back for ongoing coverage.

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