Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Gerald & Charlene Gallego

Killer Couples

In the years since he was sentenced, Gerald Gallego vigorously proclaimed his innocence. In February 2001, Gallego appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court that his constitutional right to represent himself at trial was violated when self-representation was denied at his 1999 penalty hearing.

Attorney Brent Kolvet told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Gallego was not really interested in representing himself as much as he wanted someone other than Public Defender Steven McGuire to represent him.  Nor was Gallego cooperative during that penalty hearing. His behavior, which included turning his back on the judge, warranted the need for an attorney to represent him, Kolvet said.

Gallego at his 1999 penalty hearing (AP)
Gallego at his 1999
penalty hearing

After Gallego's 1984 death sentence for the kidnap-murders of Stacey Redican and Karen Twiggs was reversed on appeal, he was given a new penalty hearing in 1999. The new jury took less than an hour to sentence him again to death a second time for the murder of the two young women. 

Gallego was convicted of four killings. Charges were not filed in the cases of the other six murders. 

The Nevada Supreme Court rejected his appeal.

The skeletal remains found in Lassen County, CA were confirmed by DNA testing to be those of Brenda Judd, 14, and Sandra Colley, 13. The girls were killed by blows to the head  in 1979 after being abducted in Reno at the Washoe County Fair. Their remains were found in Nov. 1999 along U.S. Highway 395 some 25 miles north of Reno.

Gallego denied the killings and was not tried for their deaths. His wife Charlene had told police about the abduction and murder. 

Charlene Gallego, known since the mid-80s by her maiden name of Charlene Williams, was released from a Nevada prison in July 1997.  She did not tell authorities where she was headed, but agreed to register as a felon wherever she took up residence.  Mercedes Williams, who raised the son Charlene bore in prison, said Charlene had left California and would not return.

July 18, 2002 Gerald Gallego 56, died at the Nevada prison system's regional medical center. He had been moved there from Ely State Prison's death row.

Gerald Gallego,  prison photo ID, shortly before his death
Gerald Gallego,
prison photo ID,
shortly before his

Cause of death was rectal cancer which had spread to his liver and lungs. The medical director described him as a "very quiet individual. He was very reasonable about no extra treatment or resuscitation efforts." Gallego made no final statements, had no visitors and was heavily sedated when he died.



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