A state appellate court panel Thursday rejected an appeal filed on behalf of a Manhattan Beach man convicted of fatally shooting his wife nearly 16 years ago during an argument over loud music.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected Bill Lawrence Gallup’s contention that a judge in Torrance erred in finding him competent to stand trial, finding that “substantial evidence supports the trial court’s conclusion.”
Gallup was convicted in April 2016 of first-degree murder for the July 5, 2003, killing of his 50-year-old wife, Oliva, to whom he had been married for three decades.
She was shot once in the chest after she had fallen to her knees after being struck by debris from the first gunshot, then shot in the eye at close range, before Gallup shot himself twice in the head.
His wife had asked him to turn down the volume while he was listening to music, and the two got into an argument that culminated with the shooting, according to court testimony.
Gallup was declared mentally unfit to stand trial in 2006, with court proceedings resuming in 2015 after he was determined to be competent.
The justices also rejected Gallup’s contention that the prosecution should have renewed its offer of a 14-year plea deal for manslaughter after the trial court found him competent, noting in its 24-page ruling that he cited “no authority for this novel and surprising assertion.”
At his trial, he testified in his own defense and denied shooting his wife.
He was sentenced in April 2016 to 50 years to life in state prison, but the state appellate court panel ruled that the case should be sent back to the trial court as the result of a new state law that gives judges the discretion to strike certain firearm enhancements.
“We express no opinion about how the court should exercise its discretion,” the appeals court justices wrote.
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