WAILUKU - A new attorney will be appointed for a California man charged with killing his girlfriend near Nakalele Point two years ago, while mental health evaluations are pending in his case.
Last week, 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza granted the request for another attorney by Gerald Galaway Jr., 39, after the Public Defender's office cited an "irreparable breakdown of the attorney-client relationship."
Court proceedings in Galaway's case have been suspended pending evaluations of his mental fitness by three court-appointed psychiatrists or psychologists.
Galaway is asking to withdraw his no-contest pleas to a reduced charge of manslaughter and kidnapping in the Sept. 1, 2011, killing of Celestial Dove Cassman.
The 35-year-old Santa Cruz attorney had arrived on Maui with Galaway, also of Santa Cruz, the day before her body was found under a tree off Kahekili Highway near Nakalele Point. An autopsy showed that she was strangled to death.
The mental health evaluations were ordered based on Galaway's testimony that he felt pressured and was confused and "in a bit of a trance" when he entered the no-contest pleas last year.
In court Thursday, Cardoza said he wanted to see the mental health examinations completed. The judge said Galaway "seems to be completely oriented, but he has indicated that at times he feels he drifts in and out of competency."
First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera said that although Galaway said his mind wasn't clear when he entered the pleas, "he answered every question, even debated certain issues on the witness stand."
Rivera said the mental health examinations for Galaway were ordered in October but have been held up by Galaway's refusal to sign medical releases.
Galaway is scheduled to appear in court with his new attorney Monday.