New Hanover man who killed mother, stepfather, commits suicide in prison

Gerard Altman (Photo: NC DPS)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The man who was serving a life sentence for killing his mother and his stepfather in their Ogden home in 2009 has died of an apparent suicide, according to a release from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Gerard Altman died Monday. He was found unresponsive in the inmate dormitory at Lumberton Correctional Institution around 3:40 a.m.

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Prison medical staff and paramedics responded and worked to resuscitate Altman. He was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead at 5:18 p.m.

In February of 2009, Altman robbed and murdered his mother, Laura Gallagher, 58, and her husband James, 70,  at their home. Their bodies were discovered after a neighbor called the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office asking a deputy to come and check on the couple who lived on Westridge Court.

Deputies entered the home and found the couple dead. The couple died from multiple sharp and blunt force injuries.

24 hours later, deputies arrested Altman at the Reserve Apartments.

He was originally facing the death penalty, but received two consecutive life sentences after pleading guilty in May of 2011 to two counts of first degree murder.

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