Prosecutors may finally have the evidence they need to convict brothers Adam and Aaron Galli in the 1992 death of a Green Parrot Cafe cook.
One of the "preppy bandits," who previously and repeatedly refused to testify, now says he's ready to help the state build a stronger case against his cousins.Nathan Galli's tempting offer came in a June 23 letter to 3rd District Judge Pat Brian.
"I was not strong enough to do what I believed was right," he wrote, reflecting on his refusal to help prosecutors three years ago. "I subverted my personal values and remained silent, accepting my punishment while silently wishing that I were a stronger man. Sir, this is no longer the case."
He went on to ask Brian to consider his change of heart and write a letter "in my behalf" to the state Board of Pardons and Parole, which will consider Galli's parole status in January.
Brian can't remember ever reading the letter filed by a clerk in 3rd District Court records on June 23.
"I probably wouldn't respond anyway. My thinking is that it is a matter within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Board of Pardons. . . . They are much more qualified to evaluate a prisoner's progress," the judge said.
Galli's two-page letter revealed other tantalizing twists in the saga of serial robberies and murder linking the four Galli cousins.
In the same paragraph containing his offer, Nathan also wrote that he was at the time "assisting the FBI in the apprehension of Adam Galli."
Adam Galli, 26, was arrested a month later in Northfield, Minn., by agents acting on a tip. He had been a fugitive of a capital murder charge since jumping bail in the summer of 1992.
FBI officials maintain they found the fugitive Galli through a viewer of Fox Television's "America's Most Wanted." The program had profiled Adam Galli five separate times.
Special Agent James Logan in Salt Lake City denied Monday that
Nathan Galli "was instrumental" in the capture of his cousin.
Logan was one of two officials mentioned specifically by Nathan in the letter. Galli also named Salt Lake Deputy District Attorney John Spikes."I am currently working with John Spikes . . . helping to build a stronger case for the Green Parrot homicide," the letter states.
Spikes, contacted Tuesday morning, confirmed he and others in the district attorney's office had talked with Nathan Galli's attorney, Wally Bugden, about the Rior-dan case.
"Obviously, we'd like to have all the witnesses we can in the case," he said. "Prison can have an effect on people and maybe (Nathan) is ready to talk." Nathan is in prison for aggravated robbery.
He could not discuss any other implications of the letter. Bugden had no comment about the letter or his client's willingness to help break the Riordan case.
Nathan's offer, if it bears fruit, is the best prosecutors could hope for since they dropped a murder charge against Aaron Galli.
Aaron Galli was the only one to stand trial for the murder of Rior-dan, who was shot as he struggled with robbers in the basement of the Green Parrot Cafe on May 17, 1992.
A jury convicted him based on the word of the youngest Galli, Christopher. He was the state's star witness at the trial, testifying that Aaron told him he and Adam robbed and then shot Riordan.
But Christopher Galli tainted his statements from the stand after the verdict, writing in a letter that prosecutors had the "wrong man" when they charged Aaron Galli.
Given the recanter, 3rd District Judge Michael Murphy ruled a new trial was in order for Aaron and set a date. However, prosecutors dropped the charge, hoping to avoid double jeopardy if new evidence surfaced later.
Aaron Galli, who is serving time in prison for unrelated aggravated robberies, is scheduled to be paroled in May 1996. Now, however, Nathan Galli may deliver both Aaron (again) and Adam to a jury.
Nathan appears to have the necessary knowledge. He told a Salt Lake police detective in June 1992 that Aaron Galli had talked with him about the robbery and shooting at Green Parrot.
"Aaron told him that (Riordan) came down into the storage room and confronted them and that (Riordan) rushed them," detective Kyle Jones wrote in a report of the interview.
Nathan said that Aaron stated they had a brief struggle with the victim and that they rammed his head into an amusement game and they knocked him down and he got back up and that Adam shot (Riordan)."
Jones said Tuesday he believes Nathan Galli "could be very credible" from the stand. "He gave us the first piece of information that Aaron and Adam were involved."
That testimony is essentially the same provided by Christopher in the first trial of Aaron Galli - which ended in a conviction.
Nathan Galli would not make the statements under oath at the time and they could not be used in court otherwise.
A preliminary hearing on the capital murder charge against Adam Galli is scheduled for Oct. 18. It will determine whether probable cause exists for a trial on the charge.
Aaron Galli has not been charged again with the death of Riordan.