A California man was sent to prison for 15 years Friday for raping an elementary school teacher in her classroom when he was passing through Mesa in 1992.
Gregory Wayne Galkoski, 36, seemingly disappeared behind a bowling alley as a teacher and custodian chased him on March 9, 1992, in the moments after he raped the 49-year-old woman.
A Mesa cold-case detective solved the case in 2006 when DNA found on the woman’s clothing matched Galkoski’s DNA, which he was required to provide for a national database because he was in prison in California for an unrelated case.
“I guess I’ve got to pay my dues,” Galkoski said Friday, bawling into a tattered tissue as he sat in a wheelchair in Maricopa County Superior Court.
The teacher was grading papers at Franklin Elementary School about 7:30 a.m. when Galkoski sneaked up on her, hit her on the head with a club and sexually assaulted her.
It was a case that could have gone by the wayside.
Detective Chris Rash revived it in 2002 when he was assigned to work on old, unsolved sexual assault cases.
He discovered, however, that all of the evidence that had been impounded, which included the victim’s clothing and the sexual assault kit, had been destroyed, according to Rash’s grand jury testimony.
He then came across a crime lab report from the Department of Public Safety, which did DNA analysis for Mesa at the time of the crime.
“I contacted the Department of Public Safety and learned that they had retained the original cuttings from the victim’s clothing and sexual assault kit,” Rash said.
Mesa’s crime lab obtained a DNA profile in 2003 from skin cells left on the clothing.
Rash visited Galkoski in March 2006, shortly after he was identified as the suspect.
Galkoski said he had spent all his life in California except for a month in 1992 in Apache Junction.
Rash then showed him a photo of the woman.
“He said numerous times he had no idea who that person was, never met her, never seen her in his whole life,” Rash said.
He couldn’t explain how his DNA got on the woman’s clothing.