Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stop the Execution of Bryan Sean Galvin scheduled for August 24th in PA!

Facts of the Crime:

Sentenced to death  9/6/07. He shot his friend Kristofer Kolesnik in the head in Reading, wrapped the body in a tarp and tried to transport the corpse in a van in January 2006.

Bryan S. Galvin broke his silence Thursday in Berks County Court when he told a judge that he should not die for the January 2006 slaying of his friend.

“The jury convicted me of first-degree murder, but I don’t deserve to die,” Galvin said before Judge Paul M. Yatron formally imposed the death sentence.

“I want to thank my friends and family for their love and support,” Galvin said.

Galvin did not testify during his trial, which concluded Aug. 13 when a Luzerne County jury imposed the death sentence.

The same jury had convicted Galvin, 42, of the 300 block of South 18th Street of first-degree murder for the killing of Kristofer Kolesnik, 32, of 21 S. 11th St.

Galvin told his lawyers, Chief Public Defender Glenn D. Welsh and Assistant Public Defender Timothy Biltcliff, not to present evidence during the penalty phase of the trial to convince the jury to spare his life.

Death penalty cases are automatically appealed to the state Supreme Court.

“Bryan Galvin is a poster child for the death penalty,” District Attorney Mark C. Baldwin said. “I am confident that one day a governor will sign a death warrant for Bryan Galvin.”

Kolesnik’s girlfriend, Wendy Hess of Reading, wept as she told the judge that Kolesnik’s life should never have been taken.

“Justice needs to be served,” Hess said. “His life was taken for no reason.”

Yatron noted that there are few executions in Pennsylvania.

“We have had about three death sentences carried out in 30 years,” he said.

The last execution in Pennsylvania occurred July 6, 1999, when Gary Heidnick received a lethal injection for killing two women he had imprisoned in his Philadelphia home.

In the Galvin trial, witnesses testified Galvin shot Kolesnik in the head Jan. 30, 2006, then wrapped the body in a tarp and put it in a van.

Galvin was on his way to dump the body in a remote area when police stopped him in Kenhorst for driving at night without headlights.

During the trial, Baldwin was not permitted to tell the jury that Galvin was accused of killing a friend, Todd Heck, in 1991.

After three trials, Galvin was acquitted in May 1999. By then, he had already served eight years in prison.

Galvin was sentenced July 13, 1983, to four to 16 years in state prison after he was convicted of a robbing and assaulting a 73-year-old Reading woman who suffered broken bones in her face.

In the recent trial, the jury was bused daily from Wilkes-Barre because of extensive pretrial publicity in Berks.

June 26, 2010
Gov. Ed Rendell signed an execution warrant Friday for former city resident Bryan S. Galvin.

Galvin, 45, is scheduled to die by lethal injection Aug. 24 for the Jan. 30, 2006, slaying of his friend, Kristofer Kolesnik.

Kolesnik, 32, of 21 S. 11th St., died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Cumru Township police found his body in the back of a van Galvin was driving when they pulled the van over on New Holland Road at 3 a.m. because its lights were off.

Police said that Kolesnik's body was wrapped in a bloody comforter and that Galvin was on his way to a remote area to burn it.

Galvin, formerly of the 300 block of South 18th Street, was convicted of first-degree murder in Berks County Court in 2007. His jury was selected in Luzerne County because of extensive pretrial publicity here.

Former District Attorney Mark C. Baldwin sought the death penalty because of Galvin's history of violent crimes.

At his formal sentencing a month later, Galvin told the judge, "The jury convicted me of first-degree murder, but I don't deserve to die."
Galvin is currently is incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Greene, which is in Greene County in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania.

Rendell also signed execution warrants Friday for three other inmates: James W. VanDivner, 61, of Fayette County; Anthony Fletcher, 54, of Philadelphia; and Dennis L. Miller, 47, of Chester County.

VanDivner was convicted of a 2004 fatal shooting in 2004. Fletcher was convicted of first-degree murder in a 1992 fatal shooting. Miller was convicted of raping and fatally stabbing his wife in 1995.

Rendell has signed 108 execution warrants while in office.

Greetings Governor Rendell, 
I am writing to you to express my concerns regarding the scheduled execution of Bryan Sean Galvin on August 24th. I believe that the death penalty is always inhumane, cruel, immoral, uncivilized and vengeful. Justice is not advanced in the taking of a human life. The death penalty is expensive and ineffective at deterring, preventing and reducing violent crimes. Therefore, I urge you to commute the death sentence of Galvin to life imprisonment.

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