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HANFORD — A man convicted of murdering his cellmate is now facing the death penalty.

Jurors decided the fate of Robert Galvan, 37, after just 30 minutes of deliberation. Their decision marked the end of a trial that lasted for almost four weeks.

Galvan was the sole suspect in the murder of Robert Johnson, 29, who was found dead in their shared cell at California State Prison Corcoran on Sept. 16, 2010.

At the time, Galvan was already serving three consecutive life terms for robbery, kidnapping for ransom, and several cases of assault with a deadly weapon.

So many, in fact, that Snyder said it didn’t make sense for the District Attorney’s Office to prosecute them all.

On one occasion, while being transferred back to prison in July 2012, Galvan got out of his handcuffs and stabbed a correctional officer so badly the man was forced to retire.

“The only way to say it is that this individual is the poster child for the death penalty,” Snyder said.

Jurors reached a guilty verdict in the murder case late last week. The penalty phase of the trial lasted through Wednesday.

Galvan will return to court on May 15 to be formally sentenced.

“We’re very happy with this verdict,” Snyder said. “The jurors couldn’t, in good conscience, give him another life term. He’s already serving three without the possibility of parole. What else could they give him?”

The last time someone was sentenced to the death penalty in Kings County was in 2010.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2425 or by email at

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