Van Nuys : Man Sentenced for ’72 Murder of In-Law

A retired aerospace worker was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole Wednesday for killing his mother-in-law, ending a 23-year-old murder case.

Harland Gallion, 66, sat deadpan as he was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Michael Hoff. Gallion’s only comment was to request transcripts of the weeklong trial during which one of his daughters testified that her father confessed to killing her maternal grandmother, Catherine Marion Halgren.

The daughter, Catherine Gallion, 43, also testified that Gallion abused her for years, leaving her so terrified of him that it took more than two decades before she told police that Gallion confessed to slaying Halgren.

Halgren was found slain in the bedroom of her home in the 4300 block of Cahuenga Boulevard in North Hollywood on Sept. 16, 1972. A day or two after the murder, Gallion confessed to his daughter, Catherine, then 20.


Because little evidence was available at the time of the murder, the case was closed until 1992 when Los Angeles Police Detective Oscar Carballo reopened it after Gallion’s youngest daughter, Robin Denise Wood, 39, called to check on the progress of the investigation.

During the two-year, multi-state investigation, Carballo tracked a host of witnesses, including retired LAPD detectives, coroner’s office employees and finally Catherine Gallion, who told him of the confession, the key piece of information, and then the appalling stories of sexual abuse.

Wood and Linda Chant, 44, Gallion’s eldest daughter, also testified that their father beat them and emotionally tortured them for years.

In delivering the sentence, Judge Hoff said he believed the women genuinely feared their father and urged the parole board to consider the possible threat Gallion could pose to the women if he is paroled.


Gallion’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Philip Boche, filed an appeal against the sentencing.