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HOT SPRINGS -- A woman facing a death-penalty trial in the killings of her 8-year-old daughter and 71-year-old mother in November pleaded innocent to multiple charges Tuesday in Garland County Circuit Court.

Melissa Ann "Missy" Galey, 46, appeared before Division 4 Circuit Judge Marcia Hearnsberger and pleaded innocent to two counts of capital murder, each punishable by the death penalty or life in prison, in connection with the deaths of her daughter, Megan Galey, and mother, Wanda Self. The state has indicated it plans to seek the death penalty.

She also pleaded innocent to a felony count of arson, punishable by up to six years in prison, stemming from accusations that she tried to burn down the house she shared with the victims at 2208 Lakeshore Drive.

Galey has remained in custody without bail since her arrest Nov. 21.

Deputy Public Defender Mark Fraiser appeared on Galey's behalf at Tuesday's hearing. According to Galey's bail determination form, she had been unemployed for two months before her arrest, and she supported two children.

A gag order limiting pretrial publicity in the case was issued Tuesday, and a hearing to determine the admissibility of statements Galey made to Hot Springs police after her arrest is scheduled for April 16.

According to the probable cause affidavit, police responded to a call around 7:25 a.m. Nov. 21 to the Lakeshore Drive residence to a possible homicide. As officers approached the glass front door, they said, they saw the body of a child, later identified as Megan Galey, on her back just inside the doorway covered in blood with what appeared to be multiple stab or puncture wounds.

Officers located a second victim, a woman later identified as Wanda Self, inside a rear bedroom. She was also on her back, covered in blood, and appeared to have multiple stab or puncture wounds, according to the affidavit.

As police searched the residence, officers located Galey in the backyard exiting from underneath the residence, the affidavit said. It noted that the area where Galey was found had "fresh char marks" as if it had been set on fire. Galey had blood "all over her clothing" and was detained and taken to the Police Department for questioning, according to the affidavit.

During an interview with detective Mark Fallis, Galey said she killed her mother and daughter and attempted to set the house on fire, the affidavit said. She stated she had been planning the incident for approximately a week, according to the affidavit.

Shortly after Galey's arrest, Sunshine Smith, who identified herself as a family friend, told The Sentinel-Record that Galey's eldest daughter had expressed concern for the safety of her younger sister.

Smith said Galey's eldest daughter went to her house the night before, worried about her younger sister because her mother was claiming "[the father of her children] was Santa Claus, she was going to end the world, and that the devil has taken over."

Smith said they called state Child Protective Services.

Police Cpl. Joey Williams said previously that Galey had no criminal history and that police had never responded to the Lakeshore residence previously for any kind of criminal activity. He also said that police believe Galey acted alone.

State Desk on 01/10/2019

Print Headline: Plea innocent in Hot Springs killings

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