Separate trials for US brothers accused of shooting Irish garda

Two trials for New Orleans brothers charged with attempted murder to start in October

Two brothers accused of robbing and shooting an Irish garda while he was on holiday in New Orleans in January will stand trial separately in October, a Louisiana prosecutor has told a US court.

Melvin Galle Jr (41) and Keith M Galle (34) have been charged with attempted second-degree murder and armed robbery over the shooting of Brian Hanrahan (30) from Co Tipperary on January 27th.

Mr Hanrahan was shot in a leg and torso after refusing to hand over money in a mugging. He was on holiday at the time with his father. He was treated in LSU Hospital in New Orleans after the shooting.

Prosecutor, assistant district attorney Robert Ferrier, said at a hearing in the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court on Monday that the brothers would stand trial separately due to conflicting defences, according to a report in the Louisiana newspaper, The Times-Picayne.


Melvin Galle has implicated his brother in the shooting of Mr Hanrahan, a married father-of-one from Killenaule, Co Tipperary and stationed as a garda in Newcastlewest, Co Limerick.

New Orleans police have said Mr Hanrahan left Bourbon Street, a popular tourist nightspot, with the older Galle brother and walked about 3km to the 2200 block of New Orleans Street.

Mr Hanrahan told police that he left the French Quarter with Melvin Galle in search of another place to drink and that he withdrew from $200 from an ATM to buy more alcohol. After he was shot, the brothers rummaged through his pockets while he lay bleeding.

Melvin Galle told New Orleans police detective Johnny Magee that Mr Hanrahan was seeking the company of a woman, and that his brother and another man were haggling over the price, according to the newspaper’s report of the court hearing.

Mr Galle said he saw his brother Keith pull out a gun as he was walking away and then he heard gunshots. Keith Galle made no statements to police.

Attorney Amanda Fraser, the public defender representing Melvin Galle, told the court that Mr Hanrahan “wasn’t altogether forthcoming about the entire situation” and asserted that he was “pandering” or seeking a prostitute when he was shot around 5.40am.

“Mr Hanrahan had been drinking for eight hours, admittedly before this happened,” she told the court during a hearing in which she sought to have her client’s statement to police excluded from the trial.

“So I don’t think we can swallow wholesale what Mr Hanrahan says,” she added, according to the Times-Picayne news report.

Mr Ferrier, the prosecutor, dismissed Melvin Galle’s statements as “self-serving,” noting that he was at the scene but saw nothing and that he was only “trying to help the guy get some girls.”

Melvin Galle’s trial has been scheduled to begin on October 6th and his younger brother’s on October 20th.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent