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Hundreds pay tribute to 23-year-old murder victim at Concord vigil

  • Mark Galusha speaks during a candlelight vigil for his daughter, Sabrina Marie Galusha, in Concord on Saturday. ELIZABETH FRANTZ Monitor staff

  • Sean Galusha embraces his mother Rebecca Galusha during a candlelight vigil for their sister and daughter, Sabrina Marie Galusha, in downtown Concord on Saturday evening. A large group of family and friends gathered to honor the 23-year-old woman who killed in a stabbing Tuesday. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • A candlelight vigil was held for Sabrina Marie Galusha in downtown Concord on Saturday evening, June 3, 2017. A large group of family and friends gathered to honored the 23-year-old woman who police say died in a stabbing Tuesday. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • A candlelight vigil was held for Sabrina Marie Galusha in downtown Concord on Saturday evening, June 3, 2017. A large group of family and friends gathered to honored the 23-year-old woman who police say died in a stabbing Tuesday. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • A candlelight vigil was held for Sabrina Marie Galusha in downtown Concord on Saturday evening, June 3, 2017. A large group of family and friends gathered to honored the 23-year-old woman who police say died in a stabbing Tuesday. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • A candlelight vigil was held for Sabrina Marie Galusha in downtown Concord on Saturday evening, June 3, 2017. A large group of family and friends gathered to honored the 23-year-old woman who police say died in a stabbing Tuesday. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)



Monitor staff
Saturday, June 03, 2017

In an extraordinary display of affection and sadness, more than 200 people gathered in front of the State House on Saturday night to remember Sabrina Galusha, the 23-year-old Concord High School graduate who was stabbed to death Tuesday under mysterious circumstances.

The tear-filled vigil, coordinated by Galusha’s ex-boyfriend, Michael Kangas, featured stories about a woman who hugged homeless people and never met a dog she wouldn’t pet. One by one, friends and family took the microphone in front of the Franklin Pierce statue and described what Galusha meant to them.

Kangas moved to Florida two weeks ago and flew back to Concord after hearing the news. He and Galusha dated for four years and remained close after their breakup.

“The most positive, loving person I ever met,” Kangas said shortly before addressing the crowd. “She just wanted to spread love and make the world a brighter place.”

Caylin Cook, a Concord High graduate who now lives in Newbury, said Galusha was passionate about the environment, human rights and animals. Wearing a yin-yang necklace, she said Galusha “always had the right thing to say to me when I needed to hear it. The most beautiful, spirited person ever.”

The microphone, left open for anyone to speak, passed from hand to hand like a baton in a relay race as the sun set over downtown.

“She took time to recognize everyone,” said Sabrina’s father, 66-year-old Mark Galusha, a retired state worker. “She was a free spirit.”

Sabrina Galusha died from a single stab wound Tuesday night in Concord. Police allege her killer is 20-year-old Daswan Jette of Concord, who was arrested on Wednesday. He waived his arraignment in Merrimack County Superior Court the following day. He’s been charged with alternative counts of second-degree murder and is being held at the county jail without bail.

Police said Galusha was stabbed outside the Penacook Place Apartments on Pinehurst Street in Concord, but many details surrounding her death remain unclear.

She was found bleeding outside Swenson Granite Works, four miles from Concord Hospital, after a 911 call was made about 8:40 p.m. It’s unknown who called police.

A witness told the Monitor he had heard a loud altercation in the Penacook Place parking lot before spotting a car speeding away. Several sources said Galusha and Jette did not know each other.

Police have not revealed who, if anyone, was present with Galusha near the car when they arrived at the scene, nor have they described the connections between anyone involved that night.

“We have ideas about what happened, but we’re not saying anything,” Mark Galusha said. “The attorney general and police still have a lot of work to do.”

Hannah Treadwell of Concord, a longtime friend of Galusha’s, said, “Sabrina did not know this person (Jette) at all. Sabrina should not have been there. She did not know these people.”

Treadwell met Galusha in sixth grade. Galusha needed help after breaking her arm while walking a hard-tugging dog. Treadwell began carrying Galusha’s books between classes.

A bond grew. Treadwell said her friend, nice to a fault, never held a grudge against those who had been mean to her.

“This amazing person would go out of her way to help any person,” Treadwell said. “Some people were just really, really awful and took advantage of the fact that she was so nice to everybody. People would steal from her and try to hurt her and she would immediately forgive them like it was nothing.”

During the start of the tribute, Kangas held a candle, which he used to light other candles that had been passed out. Treadwell stood to his right.

“Never let her spirit die,” Kangas told the crowd. “Love everyone the way she did.”

Sean Galusha, Sabrina’s brother, is a 2014 Concord High graduate who’s attending college in Boston. He relayed a story about a recent trip he’d taken with his sister and friends to New York City.

There, in Times Square, tired and anxious to find a cab back to the hotel, Sabrina stopped for 45 minutes to speak to a homeless man playing guitar. Sean couldn’t hear what was said between the two. “She said the man told her he had no family,” Sean said to the gathering. “My sister told him that people cared about him, and she was one of them.”