Saturday, October 21 , 2017, 7:34 am | Fair 49º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Man Accused of Killing Uncle and Dumping Body Near Santa Barbara Pleads Guilty to Murder

A Southern California man who allegedly killed his uncle and then dumped the body — before setting it on fire — in the mountains above Santa Barbara in 2011 pleaded guilty to murder charges this week.

Kirk Michael Galvin, 25, of La Palma in Orange County entered the guilty plea on Monday to one felony count of second-degree murder, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

He faces a maximum of 15 years to life in state prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 23 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

According to prosecutors, Galvin murdered his 53-year-old uncle Douglas Galvin on July 27, 2011, in his father’s La Palma apartment while he was out of town.

Galvin then allegedly drove his uncle’s dead body up to Santa Barbara and dumped it in a remote area off of East Camino Cielo Road, near Painted Cave Road off Highway 154.

In an attempt to destroy the evidence, Galvin allegedly set the body on fire and then fled the scene, according to the DA’s Office.

Three days later, two people out on a walk in the mountains above Santa Barbara found Douglas Galvin’s burned body and contacted the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, according to Kelly Hoover, a Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

“Our detectives were determined to figure out who the victim was and find out who was responsible for this heinous crime,” Hoover told Noozhawk. “Even after it was determined the victim was missing from the La Palma area, and the case was turned over to La Palma police, our detectives collaborated on the case.” 

Following the investigation, Kirk Galvin was arrested Aug. 5, 2011.

“The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is happy to hear that the Douglas Galvin murder case has come to a successful conclusion,” Hoover said. “This was a cold-blooded murder, and we are pleased that Kirk Galvin will be held accountable for killing his own uncle. 

“It is always a victory when the person who committed a crime is identified and brought to justice. This case is a great example of a successful collaboration, which involved multiple jurisdictions, and we are pleased to have been a part of the effort.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >