POSTED: 3:59 p.m. HST, Jun 7, 2012
The killer of a Santa Cruz, Calif., attorney whose body was found at the bottom of a Maui cliff last year pleaded no contest today in Maui Circuit Court to a reduced charge of manslaughter.
Gerald Galaway Jr., 39, originally charged with murder, also pleaded no contest to kidnapping.
He faces a prison term of 20 to 40 years when he is sentenced Sept. 11.
Santa Cruz residents Galaway and Celestial Dove Cassman, Galaway's girlfriend who was an attorney, arrived on Maui the day before she was killed Sept. 1.
A witness reported seeing him holding her in a chokehold and dragging her into bushes as she kicked and screamed near Mile Marker 38 on Kahekili Highway, according to police.
Her body was found at the base of the Nakalele cliffs in north Maui.
Cassman, 35, worked as an attorney at a law firm that provided legal services to several cities.
She graduated from University of California at Santa Cruz in 1998 before attending law school at UC Davis, according to the website of the nonprofit Santa Cruz group, CASA, where Cassman served as a director.