Galas gets minimum sentence

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file photo

    Darren Galas reacts to remarks being delivered by Lawrence Mendonca Jr. during Galas’ assault sentencing at the Lihue courthouse.

LIHUE — Darren Galas, 46, who was convicted of assault in the first degree in relation to the 2006 death of his wife Sandra Galas, 27, will be eligible to apply for parole in eight years and six months.

Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar and Larry Mendonca Sr., Sandra Galas’ father, testified before the Parole Authority earlier this month.

Though the Mendonca family said they are pleased with the Parole Authority’s decision on the minimum length of Darren Galas’ sentencing, Mendonca said they would have liked to have seen him get more time.

“But with the change of plea with the prosecutor’s office, we got the max of what we could get under the circumstances,” Mendonca said.

Kollar said the Parole Authority didn’t give them everything they asked for, but the results were pretty close to what they wanted.

“We are satisfied with this result,” he said.

During the hearing, Mendonca said Darren Galas continues to maintain his innocence or any wrongdoing in his daughter’s murder.

“That wasn’t in his favor when he brought that up at Parole Board,” Mendonca said.

He continued: “We got the max of what we could get under the circumstances, so now we’ll see if down the road he’ll actually ‘fess up and show some remorse for what he has done.”

With the minimum sentence set, Mendonca said his family is pretty much at the end of the journey as far as the case goes.

“We did everything we could to ensure that there’s an arrest and that he’ll pay for what he did. Now it’s a matter of going back to our lives and living our lives,” he said.

Mendonca said although Darren Galas has turned their daughter’s two sons against their grandparents, the kids are always welcome.

“We’ll keep track of them and hopefully someday they’ll come back and be with us and visit us from time to time,” Mendonca said.

Renae Hamilton-Cambeilh, executive director at Kauai’s YWCA, who has worked tirelessly to keep the memory of Sandra Galas alive, said the eight-year, six-month minimum sentence is good news.

“The minimum sentence does ensure justice for Sandy and her family. It reflects the seriousness of the assault perpetrated by Darren that resulted in Sandy losing her life. It’s infrequent that such a high minimum sentence is given, but it is due to the constant efforts of Sandy’s family which has taken a heavy toll on them over all these years to get to this point,” she said.

The sentence was handed down May 30 after Galas pleaded from a murder in the second-degree charge to an assault in the first-degree charge in January.

The couple married in 1999. By 2005, they had separated; Sandra Galas filed for divorce in August of that year.

On Jan. 25, 2006, she was found strangled to death in her car at her Eleele home. The case remained open until a grand jury returned an indictment in October 2012.

At sentencing, Kollar read emails Sandra Galas sent to her divorce attorney describing a volatile marriage and stating her husband was always harassing her.

Since the indictment, Darren Galas, who has since remarried, has maintained he did not commit the murder.

At the sentencing, he thanked those who have supported him throughout the years.

The case garnered national attention when Dateline NBC started covering it.


Bethany Freudenthal, crime, courts and county reporter, can be reached at 652-7891 or

  1. ruthann jones October 29, 2018 4:38 am Reply

    another example of ‘local; justice? Shameful.

  2. Biglou October 29, 2018 4:02 pm Reply

    SO on Kauai?
    you can use you hands to strangle someone until they are dead!
    and then the authorities(your friends) hold off on arresting you so your kids can make it through high school and not get embarrass with the fact that their dad used his hands to choke their MOM to death in the carport of her house!! and keep from arresting him for 13 years later.

    and now be only giving 8 .5 years for it.
    Just wrong .

  3. numilalocal October 29, 2018 5:06 pm Reply

    Ruthann, sentencing laws are enacted by the legislature; the Judiciary implements the law. Having said that, this guy avoided capture for years and continues to deny his culpability and he gets a minimum sentence? Evidently the community must depend on the Paroling Authority to do the right thing in years to come.

  4. jake October 29, 2018 5:27 pm Reply

    Shameful. This waste of skin is only going to do 8.5 years for taking a human life? I guess this is telling everyone that Kauai is a good place to commit murder. Disgusting.

  5. Erika Gonzalez March 26, 2020 3:21 pm Reply

    This guy got off too easy?? WTF????

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