HONOLULU (AP) — A California man who pleaded no contest to manslaughter in the death of his girlfriend during a Maui vacation was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison.
Gerald Galaway Jr. was sentenced to 20 years for manslaughter and 20 years for kidnapping, said Maui County Prosecuting Attorney John Kim. The sentences are to be served consecutively.
Galaway and attorney Celestial Cassman, both of Santa Cruz, Calif., were staying together at a Kaanapali hotel in 2011. During the trip, Cassman’s body, clad in a ripped bathing suit, was found near Nakalele Point in northern Maui after witnesses reported seeing her struggling with a man.
When police arrived, the man took off running and jumped off a cliff into the ocean. Police rescued Galaway from a reef the following morning.
An autopsy determined Cassman, 35, died of asphyxiation.
Her body was found under a tree in a rocky gulch area, with a black T-shirt rolled up around her neck.
He was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree attempted sexual assault and kidnapping but pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of manslaughter and kidnapping in a plea deal last year.
The Hawaii Paroling Authority will determine how many years he’ll serve before being eligible for parole.
Cassman worked for a Santa Cruz law firm representing several cities. She was also a member of the board of directors for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Santa Cruz County, a group that trains adult volunteers to serve as mentors to abused, neglected and abandoned children.