Youʻre Not Alone
In January 2006, a young Filipino woman by the name of Sandra Galas was found murdered inside her home in Ele’ele, Kauai. The cause of death was strangulation. Her husband, Darren Galas, became a suspect but there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him with the murder. For 12 years the case was cold, but earlier this year new evidence was introduced thanks to new forensic technology, and her husband, who had always been a prime suspect, was finally charged with her murder. Sandra Galas, had been described by her community as a special person who was not only a mother and daughter, but she was also a talented dancer.
Her husband pleaded no-contest and was indicted on first-degree assault, a class-B felony, and has an open 10-year sentence. Is that all this incredible woman’s life was worth to the courts after 12 years of investigation...just 10 years behind bars for killing your wife? The victim’s father held a golf tournament in her honor to raise awareness of domestic violence in the Kauai community.
In July 2008, Grineline James, a mother, wife, and schoolteacher, and from Mililani, was murdered along with her son, Michael Jr. The loving mom and son were killed by her husband and the 9 year old boys’ father, Michael James Sr, a veteran. Many who knew Grineline described her as someone with big heart, always seemed happy, and was well-loved by the students and faculty at Farrington High School where she worked. People who knew her said that she was a good mom and they never saw any signs that there was trouble in the marriage. Friends and neighbors said the couple had always seemed to be happy and in love when they were out in public. The odd thing is that they were supposed to be attending a funeral the following week on the mainland for her husband’s brother. But instead, family and friends would be mourning them. They say police found the bodies after a postal worker noticed a letter in the mailbox, then more letters were found in the house that led police to the bodies upstairs. Authorities declined to say how they died, but stated that it wasn’t by gunshot. After Michael James killed his wife and son, he hung himself.
The community is shocked and confused because there were no signs that this couple had marital problems. It could possibly be that Michael James, a retired veteran, suffered from PTSD, but we will never know.
In March 2009, Royal Kaukahi was shot to death by her ex-boyfriend, Toi Nofoa, whom she had a TRO against. Royal wore a radiant smile and is dearly loved and missed by her family. While her family and friends try to deal with their loss of such a beautiful young woman, her ex-boyfriend was acquitted of first-degree murder. According to court records, Kaukahi was afraid of Nofoa and had several TROs against him.
Interestingly, prior to her death, Royal Kaukahi was scheduled to turn state’s witness against Toi Nofoa for kidnapping and terroristic threatening in another case. Instead, an unidentified someone got into her SUV in broad daylight and shot her over and over. That sounds like someone didn’t want her to talk, if you ask me. Because no one saw the killer who actually got into the car and shot her, there wasn’t enough proof to pin evidence on Nofoa. After Nofoa’s acquittal the atmosphere in the courtroom was a mix of outrage and disbelief as Nofoa walked away a free man – free to kidnap and terrorize again.
In July 2016, Celeste Gibbons lost her life to gun violence on Kauai. Her estranged husband shot her in front of their daughter before killing himself too.