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Man suspected of killing mom, stepdad could face death penalty

The man charged with murdering his mother and her husband in their Ogden home may face the death penalty. Gerard Altman was taken into custody at a Wilmington Apartment complex Thursday, where he had been staying with friends. Altman appeared in a New Hanover County court Friday, and was denied bond. He's been charged with murdering his mother, Laura Gallagher and her husband James in their Ogden home. Preliminary autopsies indicate Mr. & Mrs. Gallagher died from blunt force trauma. Detectives anticipate more information from the autopsy to be released next week. Prosecutors say a committee will meet within the next few weeks to decide whether to pursue the death penalty. Altman's next court appearance is February 26th.

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Better be careful folks,

Better be careful folks, otherwise you may find yourselves in the middle of the same stoning circle someday!


I personally knew Jim and Laura Gallagher, who were very nice people, and devoted to helping Gerry get his life together.Mr Gallager was a retired NY city cop who worked in the subway for 40 years, he was a first responder in 9/11 and really a fine person. Laura was warm and very involved in helping Jim with his medical problems. Jim wanted to live and recover to enjoy his retirement in NC.They loved it here and were happy to face retirement.They were warm and kind people. When Laura introduced me to her son Gerry, she did so with pride and she appeared to care for him, and he was attentive to his step father also.It is heartbreaking to know that the Gallaghers suffered and possibly witnessed the death of one another. The Gallaghers were not at fault here, and if you knew them you would know they were attempting to help Gerry after he got out of prison.

Why do we kill people, who

Why do we kill people, who kill people, to prove that killing people is bad? Also, how do you know that these people didn't deserve to die? Perhaps this man was abused or worse. I'm not judging either way. Perhaps I'm naive, or maybe I've just seen too much. Things(people, parents, authority figures, law enforcement,etc.) are not always the picture perfect examples they try to portray themselves as.

Why do we kill?

We execute murderers for several reasons. This country was founded on religious principles, including those from the Old Testament. The Old Testament is the foundation of 3 of the world's largest religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. That's a LOT of people that recognize "an eye for an eye." We execute murderers as a deterrent. Think about it: If every single person in this country KNEW without doubt that they would be put to death if convicted of murdering someone, then I do believe homicide rates would go down. We execute murderers to find some measure of justice and closure for the victims left behind. Yes, I know that not all victims believe in the death penalty. However, even for those who don't believe in it, there has to be some closure in knowing that the convicted murderer will never kill anyone else's father, mother, child, etc. Propriety prevents me from disclosing what I know about the circumstances of these 2 murders. However, I can safely say that if you knew about them, you would not be saying something as ridiculous as "how do you know that these people didn't deserve to die". You're right that "people, parents, authority figures, law enforcement, etc." aren't always the picture perfect examples of good behavior. The flip side of that particular arguement is that criminals - especially those convicted of crimes as horrific as these - usually are a picture perfect example of the ultimate sociopath that has no regard for society as a whole or even their own family...and I for one do NOT want such a demon living in the same world that my family does.

Gerry Altman

What happened is horrible. None of us know the circumstances, the hows or whys. Where he is from is irrelevant. However, if anyone has paid attention, you will notice he "grew" up in the prison system. Our prison systems do not teach people how to live once they leave in the real world. Yes, he was in trouble in prison. Bet most of you guys would have been to if you had been put in a maximum prison as a young man. Three lives are over with, ended. I am certain the court system will put him back the only place he learned how to live over the last 13 years of his life. Actually records show he was in the system from the age of 15. Reform, education, transition. We would be better off imposing the death penalty if we aren't going to teach people how to be productive members of society when they are released. That is not what is taught in prison. Again, no one knows the facts. A horrible tragedy has occurred that has affected many lives, friends and relatives. What can we learn to make changes to try to prevent things like this? Do we just release prisoners back in to society with no counseling or any courses taught to them so they don't go back to what the "know" or what the "learned" in prison?

Exactly how did he grow up

Exactly how did he grow up in the penal system? He was in jail for what, 3 is that growing up in the system. And let's not make excuses for why this thug did what he did. At some point in your life, you have to step up and take responsibility for your actions. People like you make it harder and harder for someone to do that because they know they always have someone on their side to tell them it wasn't their fault

read the news

He was in prison for 13 years.

I meant 13, not 3

Sorry, my response was suppose to say 13 years, not 3 years. When this guy was growing up, when he was learning values, he was not in jail. He should have learned most of what he needed to learn by the time he went to jail


While I think he deserves everything he gets even if it is the death penalty, and I hope he does, you should read the story and be able to comprehend what it says. It was 13 years he served in prison not 3.

he get the chair!

If a black man can get tried for murder and get the death sentence then a white man can too! stay classy!

Well I see the NAACP is rearing its ugly head again. Way to go NAACP, you stay classy.


AHHH The NAACP raises its ugly head again. You stay classy!!!


How immature. Shut up.

Please..... be quiet.

Please..... be quiet.

Not necessarily...

Look at OJ...guiltiest man ever not-convicted and he didn't get squat for his crime! Other than being the 1990's biggest punchline...

No motives yet

Various articles still report no motive. According to one article, family and friends wanted to speak but were denied the opportunity, during the bond hearing, and I suspect that's normal for them to not be allowed to speak. Considering his drug use during his prison term, it's entirely possible that this was a robbery. Which isn't surprising either considering that he was arrested in NY for his participation in a crime spree that involved robbery. Even an argument could have led to the murders, though that argument could have been over a large range of issues. Nor would I automatically rule out the "Parents" having been very innocent. After all, in many cases of stories about young people committing crimes, people are ready to blame the Parents for having raised their kids badly. So, it wouldn't be a surprise either if this were a case of bad Parents raising a bad kid and the bad kid coming back and finally "dealing with them". Doesn't make it right, but still a probablity. At this point ANYTHING is possible. And I'm seriously laughing at the arguments that more capital punishment for every possible crime will actually reduce crime. Capital Punishment has been around in one form or another for centuries. It hasn't stopped crime and it never will. Especially with individuals who either are well aware they can only be executed once, no matter how much crime they commit, individuals who feel there is no other option, or individuals who just don't care what the end result is. Andrew

Good Parents

I have to respond to the comment about the possibility that his parents were "bad". I was Gerry's teacher for a couple years during his time in high school. His mom and Jim were very involved in his education and obviously cared an awful lot for him. The wanted to do anything possible to help him make the right choices and grow to be respectable. Laura took on parent roles at school. Through the years we worked together for Gerry, she showed pride in Gerry's accomplishments and encouraged him to do well. He had taken an interest in writing stories for children and she worked with him at home to persue this interest. I saw his mom occasionally after he was incarcerated and she commented about Gerry's bad choices, showing obvious disappointment, but also demonstrated her love for him and hope for his future. She conveyed my messages to Gerry that he was thought of and he responded with a letter to me from prison. He was disappointed in himself, and at that time wanted to turn his life around and possibly help others. He said that he was able to help just one young person to go striaght, then this (his time in prison) would have some purpose. I knew Gerry well whn he was a "young teen" and knew that he had a heart and good intentions. He did make bad choices and was often in trouble in school. My heart goes out to this family and I am still floored by what has happened. I just want you all to know that this is not a case of uncaring or "bad" parents who did not do everything they could to help this young man find his way. From what I knew of the amily then, it is completely the opposite, and therefore even more tragic.



Oh, thank God!!!!

Another GOOD GUY!!!!

no surprise

You really aren't surprised are you Common? Once again a criminal is being called a good guy. Make sure we don't hold people accountable for their actions. Maybe he just needs to talk to a counselor.

Prison ruined him???

Prison ruined him? LOL He did something he shouldn't have and that is why he is in Prison. He ruined his own life....nobody else did that for him


... to you and the others who say they know him (it's not meant as disrespect, but anyone with any long term experience with the internet knows to be cautious; still, I have no evidence to the contrary, so I take your words for it as being truthful). Sadly, such comments only make the issue even more confusing. Although only HE knows what his preceptions of how things went as a child and how he preceived his treatment, it still sound like he was average during his younger years. So what DID lead to this act, one can only imagine. Certainly, the other possibilities are still well open. His time in prison and his record while in prison may well be a sign of his leaving behind the person he once was and aquaintance with that younger self may not be helpful now, unfortunately. Still, it's good information to have. Even with all the information we get from past friends and relatives and aquaintances, we will still only know the barest fraction of that which was/is/will be Altman. Andrew

How could someone kill their

How could someone kill their own mother & step-father? He had no heart & no remorse for doing this!I think he deserves to get the death penalty ASAP! Also, I think he needs to go through deep,agony pain on his way to death row for pay back!I hope you die you big nasty, dirty animal!

If he did this crime, then I

If he did this crime, then I say he deserves the death penalty.

I agree with you Jess

If he is found guilty of this horrific crime then he does deserve the death penalty. His parents surely didn't deserve this brutal slaying.

Death Penalty

There should be no question about the death penalty.Go ahead and try him confict him and fry him.Why should we have to pay for some scum bag like this the rest of his life.That is what is wrong with the system now.They get a slap on the hand put in jail for years for us to support.If these people kill people do them the same way they did their killing.On friday nights at the corner of front and market so people can see what is in store for them if the commit such a crime. This would put a stop to alot of the shootings and killing that are going on.

Death Penalty

Not if would get professional juries and have a trial the day after the arrest and the hanging in front of town hall that night

Evidently both of you are

Evidently both of you are unaware of the fact that trying someone capitally costs far, far more than life imprisonment. Hundreds of hours billed by attorneys both prosectution and defense, expert witnesses, jury pool, etc. and we pay for it. It's a lose-lose situation.

Well, there's some truth in what you say.

It is very expensive, but some examples you give aren't really big-buck items. The prosecutors are already on salary, so whether they're trying a purse snatching or a capital murder trial, they cost the same. If you've ever been on jury duty, you know what that costs us, and a few fines will cover that. You are hitting the nail on the head when you bring up defense counsel and expert witnesses, and didn't even mention the endless appeals process that will cost far more than the original trial itself. The death penalty appeals process is indeed the single most abused facet of our criminal justice system not only from the point of denying or delaying justice, but from the simple point of frustrating victim's family members and taxpayers who must pay for the nonsensical games. So the cost of execution is basically an excuse used by death penalty foes, while they are causing it themselves with their endless string of appeals on dubious grounds. It's the same logic used by your high school buddies, who set you up with a loosened salt-shaker top and then tell you, "Oh, you can't eat that burger - it's too salty!" Sure....who made it too salty? (Capital punishment....who made it too expensive?) Limit the appeals process to one shot up the state ladder, one shot up the federal ladder, and our system of capital punishment would become surprisingly affordable. In anticipation of the contention that we might put a few more innocent people to death if we limit the number of appeals, I offer this: It is a very, VERY rare case that the accused is free of any criminal history or even has a small or long-ago history. Most times the accused has a history of serious misconduct, such as we see here in this case. To put it bluntly, their loss is still society's gain, and none of us should weep for them.... ...but of course, they deserve to be treated fairly too in our legal system. Accordingly, I'd be 100% in favor of initiating a requirement for DNA, video/photographic evidence, or a positive identification provided in a dying declaration in any case before capital punishment could be ordered. I'd even be in favor of applying that standard to those on death row right now, and commuting the death sentences to life for those who didn't face such compelling eveidence. If, however, you have any one of those three elements, fire up Ol' Sparky and let justice prevail.....quickly.

Mixed Feelings

I've always had mixed feelings on the death penalty. On one hand it seems at times too easy a punishment for some crimes. For instance I would rather see a child rapist locked up in a cell with a 7 foot tall prison thug and let it be known throughout the prison that the guy is a child rapist. Well, I guess that's really the same as the death penalty. Also though does killing the person not bring our society down to his level. Eye for an eye and all that, just taking one life to get revenge for the death of another. Do we have a moral standard we are breaking there? Not to mention it is obviously not a deterrent! I will say though that thinking about it as if it were personal, someone killing my family, I would want a slow and painful death probably at my own hand. I'm not's a mixed bunch of sides to this topic...