Those of us who are married know it’s hard work. That living through the ups and downs of life together can be an emotional challenge all its own. And yet, given the choice, many of us are perfectly happy fighting the good fight together with our beloveds.
Jody and Mark were in love and had been since their high school days. They had a two-year-old daughter together and were expecting another child soon enough. But even power couples like them were no match for the fickle hand of fate…
A Week Later
Jody had been missing for a week. No one, not her husband, her young daughter, nor any of her friends or family had any idea where she was. Though she lived in Sydney, Australia, it wasn’t exactly the outback. Then, nearly seven days after she’d gone missing, a decomposed body was found in the bushland near Sydney.
After a preliminary autopsy of the body, police determined two things: one, the woman’s cause of death had been one gunshot to the head, and two, this was indeed Jody, the missing Sydney woman. Taking a note directly out of the officer’s handbook, attention quickly turned to Jody’s heartbroken husband, who of course adamantly denied any involvement….
How Could He?
Jody’s husband Mark couldn’t believe what they were accusing him of. “No. No way. Absolutely not.” he said to a local newspaper. A few days later, Mark made an impassioned plea on television for help in finding his wife’s killer. He sobbed into his hands as he spoke to the cameras and begged viewers to turn in any relevant information, to help find his “angel.”
Holding Them Close
It was hard for the police to believe that Mark was a killer after that. At her funeral, Jody’s sister and mother stood by Mark’s side, holding his hand as tears welled up in all their eyes. As they laid her in the ground, he broke down into hysterics. How could a plainly emotional man like Mark Galante be responsible for his wife’s death?
Still, there were a number of things that stuck out to investigators about Mark Galante’s relationship to his wife and surrounding her death. They discovered that, despite his assurance that he had no knowledge of it prior to her death, Mark stood to inherit Jody’s $598,834 life insurance payout.
There was also the fact that not three months before Jody disappeared, Mark had made efforts to purchase a .22 semi-automatic pistol and ammunition for $9000. Now, it’s no crime to own a gun or to even want to own a gun, but it was most certainly a strange coincidence that he bought one only a few months before his wife’s body was discovered dead from a gunshot wound…
Drugs and Fights
The coincidence of the gun purchase notwithstanding, police still had no solid evidence against him for his wife’s murder. Looking into his past, they found he was a fairly heavy user of marijuana, and that this abuse had resulted in a number of explosive fights. Indeed, Mark and Jody’s neighbors had heard those fights more and more recently leading up to her murder.
A Real Charmer
There was also the fact that Galante was far from an ideal husband. He was a philanderer who had more than one extra-marital affair. Detectives located a witness who explained that she had met Galante via a chat room and had sex with him. That was only two months before Jody Galante was killed…
Despite all this, and despite the fact that a witness saw Galante visiting the Bilpin fire trail where Jody’s body was found a day before his wife was killed, he maintained his innocence. Nevertheless, three months after she was laid to rest, Mark Galante was arrested and charged with his wife’s murder.
Need to Stop
Once in custody, Galante began to tell them the tale of the day his wife died. As the story began take shape, detectives uncovered an unsettling account of one very meticulously planned day of violence. On January 7, Galante told Jody that they and their two-year old were going to take a drive out to the markets. That was not where they went…
Instead, Galante drove them to the place he had selected for her murder. He pulled over, saying he had to take a pee break, and called her out of the car to help him with something in the trunk. Jody, who was pregnant at the time, waddled out of the car to see what he needed. Meanwhile, he pulled the loaded .22 from the trunk and waited for her to enter his sights.
When Jody came to his assistance he shot her once in the back of the head. As if that wasn’t enough, his daughter, who was asleep in the backseat, woke up to the sounds and saw everything. When police asked her what had happened, she told them, “Daddy made a loud bang and mummy went flop”. “Daddy hurt mummy hard, hard on the ground…”
Cut-Up About It
Things only got more disturbing after that. Galante dumped the body where it lay, unceremoniously in the weeds. When he got home, he used an angle grinder to cut up the gun and dispose of the pieces, which he hid in suburbs around the couple’s Stanhope Gardens home.
The detectives also discovered vegetation on the bottom of Galante’s car that matched the area where they found poor Jody’s body. They now had an overwhelming amount of evidence against him and his admission of guilt. He had no choice but to recant his previous assertion that he hadn’t anything to do with the murder of his pregnant wife. It was far from over though….
The 27-year-old Galante was still not about to fully admit what he had done in court. He and his defense attorney resorted to the standard Hail Mary Play of pleading insanity. They alleged that Galante was mentally ill at the time of the killing. If it worked, it would find him leniency in the eyes of the courts.
Finally, after months of back and forth, Galante decided to come clean about his crimes. He told them the truth about everything and admitted to what he’d done. Galante explained that he had been planning Jody’s murder for months and that the gun he’d bought in October 2005 had been purchased with the exact purpose of killing her…
Galante explained that relations between the couple, who were high school sweethearts incidentally, had been tense for months leading up to the murder. The pregnancy hadn’t helped matters either. He was sure that she was going to leave him because of his drug problems and that this was why he also sought companionship outside the marriage.
The Blame Game
Even though he had been officially charged and awaiting sentence, Galante still refused to accept responsibility for his actions. He blamed Jody, saying that he believed the child in her belly was that of another man. It was her fault that he had to kill her and she drove him to it. The judge of course was not impressed by this take…
Cold and Calculated
At the close of the trial, Justice Adams, the presiding judge, described Jody Galante’s murder as “calculated and cold-blooded” He also added that Galante’s prospects of rehabilitation were limited. “Here, the murder is a calculated, cold-blooded murder by a husband of his pregnant wife because she wanted to leave him and take their child with her…”
Long Time Gone
In 2008, Mark Galante was found guilty of his wife’s murder and sentenced to 27 years in jail. It was there he would remain, thinking about the one terrible mistake that cost him his freedom and ultimately, the thing he said he wanted to protect most of all, his child.