of Appellate Courts Hennepin County
Swanson, Attorney General, Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Michael
O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Brittany D. Lawonn,
Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for
Cathryn Middlebrook, Chief Appellate Public Defender, Anders
J. Erickson, Assistant State Public Defender, Saint Paul,
Minnesota, for appellant.
evidence was sufficient to convict appellant of two counts of
first-degree premeditated murder.
Because the district court instructed the jury on
second-degree intentional murder and first-degree
premeditated murder and the jury found appellant guilty of
first-degree premeditated murder, the defendant was not
prejudiced by the district court declining to instruct the
jury on first-degree heat-of-passion manslaughter.
Hennepin County jury found appellant Gonzalo Galvan guilty of
two counts of first-degree premeditated murder for the
shooting deaths of his long-time girlfriend, Eugenia Tallman,
and Tallman's 15-year-old daughter, Victoria Alvarez. The
district court convicted Galvan of first-degree premeditated
murder and imposed consecutive life sentences. At trial,
Galvan admitted shooting the victims but argued that the
murders were not premeditated. Galvan also sought a jury
instruction on first-degree heat-of-passion manslaughter. The
court declined to give the instruction, citing a "vacuum
of evidence" to support the instruction.
direct appeal, Galvan contends that the State failed to
present evidence at trial sufficient to establish
premeditation and that the district court committed
reversible error by declining to instruct the jury on
first-degree heat-of-passion manslaughter. Because we
conclude that the State presented sufficient evidence to
sustain Galvan's convictions and that Galvan was not
prejudiced by the district court's decision to not
instruct the jury on first-degree heat-of-passion
manslaughter, we affirm.
p.m., on September 25, 2015, Galvan called 911 and told the
dispatcher that he had "shot [his] family." Galvan
said that he was "giving up" and that his son was
alive. Galvan told the dispatcher that he was not armed and
that the gun would "be in the trash container."
Galvan also said that Tallman had threatened to take away his
son. He hung up the phone after telling the dispatcher that
his son needed help going to the bathroom. Four minutes
later, Galvan called 911 again. He asked that the police not
shoot him or his son and reiterated that he was not armed.
responded to the front and rear of the house. Three officers
arrived from the rear of the property, proceeding over a
fence, across the backyard, and onto the back porch. Once
through the back-porch door and the inside door to the home,
the officers discovered Tallman. Her body was face down on
the floor, her head toward the porch and her feet toward the
kitchen. Entering the kitchen, the officers discovered
Alvarez. Her body was on her right side, on the floor,
against the kitchen cabinets and her head was against the
refrigerator. The officers observed gunshot wounds to both
Tallman's head and Alvarez's head and quickly
determined that the victims were dead.
in the kitchen, officers observed Galvan in the living room,
looking out the front window and talking on the phone. Galvan
was barefoot, dressed in only athletic shorts and a
sleeveless shirt. M.G., the seven-year-old son of Galvan and
Tallman, was sitting a few feet from Galvan.
in the front of the house shouted commands for Galvan to come
outside of the house. Galvan opened the door, stepped
outside, dropped the cell phone from his hand, and walked
down the stairs. While several officers took Galvan into
custody, another officer entered the front of the house,
picked up M.G., and carried him to a squad car.
was unharmed. The police found no weapons on the victims.
There was no sign of a struggle or physical altercation
between the victims and Galvan.
recovered a Smith & Wesson, semiautomatic, 9-millimeter
handgun from the wastebasket in the kitchen. One round was in
the chamber and three rounds were in the magazine, which had
a 16-round capacity. Ultimately, police identified 11 bullets
and 12 discharged cartridge casings. A magazine holder was
found on a shelf in the basement stairwell, which contained
another magazine loaded with 16 rounds.
had been shot twice in the back of the head. One shot entered
the back, lower-left side of her head and exited the right
side of her head. The other shot entered the back, right side
of her head, traveled slightly upward, and exited the right
side of her forehead. Blood splatter on the door separating
the kitchen and the back porch was consistent with Tallman
having ducked before Galvan shot her. Each shot would have
been incapacitating and ultimately fatal.
Galvan murdered her, Tallman was wearing a backpack. Inside
were bus schedules, receipts, hair ties, bus tickets,
M.G.'s school paperwork, a child's drawing, underwear
for a young male, and a purse and wallet containing
identification and medical cards for Tallman, Alvarez, and
M.G. Close to her hands were a set of keys, a child's
bottle, and a second backpack. The position of these items
was consistent with Tallman having held them in her hands
when Galvan shot her.
had a plastic bag containing several envelopes of cash,
totaling $21, 800, under her bra. The second backpack had a
nametag with M.G.'s name on it and contained school
folders, a sweatshirt, pants, t-shirts, and underwear.
shot Alvarez six times: once in the head, three times on the
right side of her chest, once in the abdomen, and once in the
right hip. Stippling patterns around bullet wounds to
Alvarez's forehead, hand, and chest were consistent with
Galvan having fired those shots from one-half inch to three
feet away. An imprint of concentric circles around the bullet
wound to Alvarez's forehead suggested that the muzzle of
the handgun had touched her forehead, although the medical
examiner did not determine the head shot to be a contact
wound. A graze injury to Alvarez's left hand corresponded
to the wound to her forehead, consistent with Alvarez having
raised her arms in front of her face just before Galvan shot
her in the forehead.
position of Alvarez's head, leaning against the
refrigerator, and the pooling and splatter of blood around
her body, were consistent with Galvan having shot her in the
forehead last. A DNA analysis of blood recovered from
Galvan's foot produced a match to Alvarez. Blood on
Alvarez's wrist was consistent with Galvan at some point
having stepped on Alvarez's arm. Further, the stippling
on her skin ...