April 22 • 02:25 AM

Testimony tells sad tale of young life

March 10, 2010
Editor's note: The following column was written by Doug Hunter, who is sharing his experiences with the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department and court system. The opinions expressed are the writer's and do not necessarily reflect those of this newspaper.

As this case involves courtroom testimony regarding the death of a child, some may find this story disturbing.

The most vile and violent creature on Earth is the human being. No beast of any measure of intelligence will torture and kill its own young.

The house at 5038 Dove Road is a modern torture chamber. The events that took place inside those walls can only be called barbarous.

This home will stand in infamy as a house of unforgivable horrors. Three-year-old Prhaze Galvin went from a beautiful bouncing toddler to a tormented beaten and bruised introvert. The psychological and physical abuse she endured exceeds the heinous behavior of the terrorists who daily threaten our society.

Prhaze Galvin was born to Cassandra Ross and Joe Guy Galvin. Her short life was tragic throughout. The biological mother had drug-related problems and ended up in jail. Joe Galvin, the father, took custody in May 2009 and in nine months the happy child would die, but not before her spirit for life would succumb to daily physical abuse.

On Devil's Night, Oct. 30, 2008, Joe Guy Galvin Jr. would die under mysterious circumstances. His mother, Jennifer Galvin, the new wife of Joe Guy Galvin, in her demented mind would blame Prhaze, then two, for his premature demise at 3 months of age. His death certificate lists healing rib fractures at the time of death, opening up yet another eerie chapter at the 5038 Dove Road address.

For three days the shocking testimony is given in St. Clair County District Court before Judge Cynthia Platzer. The preliminary examination of Joe Guy Galvin and Jennifer Galvin for the January 15th death of baby Prhaze concludes on Feb. 18.

Michael Ulrich of Tri-Hospital Paramedics was the first on the scene. His testimony is vivid. He tried everything in his power to sustain Prhaze's life. "Sclera" had started in the child's eyes, the drying of the eyes when death approaches. Also she was "mottled," turning purple as the blood flowed from her extremities to concentrate in the vital organs but the breathing was already short and sporadic.

Frantically he cleared her throat. There was water in her lungs. Then he administered atropine and epinephrine but to no avail. The "cyanosis," turning blue and purple, was getting worse and the heartbeat and pulse were more erratic. Carrying her in his arms, he raced to the ambulance continuing to perform the life-sustaining skills.

Arriving at Mercy Hospital she was declared dead twenty minutes later. Removing the clothing in the emergency room, the team looked on in horror at the bruised body of 3-year-old Prhaze. A call was made to the County Sheriff's office and they were immediately told of the condition of this child.

Deputy Greg Doan, who arrived almost simultaneously with the paramedics, was ordered to secure the scene. Sheriff Tim Donnellon, because of an unforeseen scheduling conflict, took the helm himself and assembled the detective team. They were on site within minutes.

Paramedic Ulrich also states Prhaze's clothes and skin were wet and she was on the floor in the bedroom. Deputy Greg Doan testifies that the baby gasped twice and noted injuries to her left eye and nose area. He and Joe Galvin spoke, but the father never talked of his daughter, only of his job.

Detectives Amey, Machey, Titus and Jacobsen arrived with a search warrant. Immediately drugs are found and the investigation begins in earnest.

Detective Colleen Titus went to the hospital to view the body of Prhaze Galvin. She would also attend the autopsy on Jan. 17.

The testimony given by Det. Titus was so compelling, tears streamed down her face, and the faces of most of the people in the courtroom. But not Joe or Jennifer Galvin. Their faces and stares were so cold it would make a polar bear shiver.

The declaration of facts by the photos she took brought an eerie silence to the crowded courtroom. Left arm, right arm, right leg and hip, left leg and hip, torso front and back, head, all with varying degrees of bruising, some fresh, some old. The head and face were bruised, lacerations in hair of differing stages of healing. Also, all ten toes had red scabs on them. Many of the bruises were "pattern injuries," injuries made by an object. The object was determined to be a large spoon. As a spoon was laid on the bruises, the outline was perfect.

Dr. Daniel Spitz, the medical examiner of St. Clair County, concurred with the testimony of Detective Titus, but was more graphic as he viewed the internal damages to the small child. The cause of death is blunt force trauma. Acute hemorrhage under the skull with the brain enlarged from swelling. His examination determined Prhaze Galvin's death was a homicide, not accidental, and the fatal impacts were administered under eight hours before death—more likely minutes before her passing.

Co-workers of Jennifer Galvin testify of the contempt and hatred she held for the child. Several tell of witnessing Prhaze being forced to stand against the "naughty wall" for hours on end for being bad. A family member tells of finding the baby being tied up with tape, wrists and knees taped together and the mouth taped shut. He called Child Protective Services about the incident, but somehow the system failed tiny Prhaze Galvin.

At different family gatherings during her last nine months, family members testify to her black eyes and bruised torso. They also talk of the shunning she endured at times, also denied life-sustaining food. Even at Christmas she had a black eye and bruised face and asked for more food after finishing her plate, only to be rebuffed.

Another co-worker states that Jennifer Galvin had caught Prhaze stealing pop and she made the 32-pound child drink the 64-ounce bottle as punishment.

This was the life of three-year-old Prhaze Galvin. So many testified, but only one notified the authorities. They all failed her. The witnesses all show remorse now, but when they could have made a positive impact, they allowed blunt force impact to be the deciding force of this life.

Justice will be served to Prhaze Galvin. Posthumously. But the real question is how did this happen? Her father has a sordid history and should have never been granted custody. His criminal history is a testimony to his unfitness to be a parent. Domestic violence, felony possession of cocaine and marijuana, operating a drug house, and the month prior to taking custody of Prhaze home invasion 3rd degree.

As of press time Joe Guy and Jennifer Galvin have yet to be bound over to circuit court on various charges, including possession of a firearm by a felon. This decision is forthcoming by Judge Platzer, a no-nonsense jurist of the highest degree. There will be no room for frivolous appeals in her decision. Her decision is epxected to be announced sometime after 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

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