LIHUE — The lawyers in a case against a man accused of killing his wife are trying to determine the voluntariness of his statements to police.
Darren Galas appeared before Judge Kathleen Watanabe on one count of second-degree murder in connection to the 2006 death of Sandra Galas.
Darren Galas was scheduled for a hearing to determine whether two statements he made to the police were freely made.
“For the state to use the statements at trial, it needs to be established that they were made after a knowing and intelligent waiver of his Miranda rights,” said Justin Kollar, prosecuting attorney.
Michael Green, Galas’ lawyer, said the defense has already stipulated to one of the statements.
“The second one is an issue,” he said.
The hearing was continued because Jennifer Winn, first deputy prosecuting attorney, was held up in other court proceedings.
On Jan. 25, 2006, Sandra Galas was found strangled to death with a cord-like object and blunt-force trauma to her head in her car, which was parked inside the garage of her Eleele home, according to reports.
Darren and Sandra Galas were married in 1999 and separated in 2005. Sandra filed for divorce in August 2005 and police believe she was killed while she and Darren were involved in a custody dispute over their two children.
In 2012, Galas was arrested and charged with second-degree murder when new evidence was discovered after the Kauai Police Department worked through Ke Ahi Pio‘ole, a prosecutor-directed cold case murder unit.
Since 2013, Galas’ defense counsel has filed five stipulations of continuance. The case has also seen two offices of the prosecuting attorneys.
In October, Green filed a motion to change the venue of Galas’ trial, saying the coverage of Galas’ death in the community may impede his client’s chances for having a fair trial.
Watanabe denied the motion in December.
For the last nine years, the YWCA of Kauai has hosted the Never Forget Sandy G Golf Tournament, which highlights the young woman’s life.
Galas will be in court again on April 5 for the voluntariness hearing.
His trial is scheduled for Aug. 28.