In the courtroom: Wilm. man accused of murdering his mother and her husband - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

In the courtroom: Wilm. man accused of murdering his mother and her husband

Gerard Edward Altman (Courtesy: New Hanover County Sheriff's Office) Gerard Edward Altman (Courtesy: New Hanover County Sheriff's Office)

Reported by Lynda Figueredo - bio|email
Additional information provided by Max Winitz - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A man accused of killing his mother and her husband was in court Friday, Feb. 6.

According to the sheriff's office, 33-year-old Gerard Edward Altman was taken into custody Thursday afternoon around 1:50 at The Reserves at Forest Hills apartment complex on Darlington Avenue in Wilmington.

Residents were shocked as they watched sheriff's deputies lead an accused killer down the steps of their apartment building.

Altman was taken into custody after a woman who lived in the same building called 911 with a break police were waiting for.  The caller said Altman, a man she barely knew, recently began hanging out at her apartment and was sleeping on her couch when she got home from school.

Feb. 4, the bodies of 59-year-old Laura Gallagher and her husband 70-year-old James Gallagher were found in their home on 424 Westridge Court.

Neighbors called 911 saying they hadn't seen the Gallaghers in at least two weeks. When deputies responded to the call, they found several pill bottles inside the home, scattered across the floor.

Neighbors said they had noticed a lot of suspicious activity during the few months Altman had stayed at the Ogden home.

Resident Nadine Pirozollo said her daughter had mentioned hearing a lot of arguments coming from the home.

Pirozollo said neighbors last saw Altman at the residence on Westridge Court Monday afternoon taking out the trash. 

They noticed newspapers had been piling up for days in the driveway unread, and now residents are seeing their normally quiet street in the headlines.

According to the New York State Department of Correctional Services, Altman served at least 13 years in prison for 3 counts of 2nd degree robbery.  He was released in 2007.

Now, Altman is back behind bars in New Hanover County being held without bond.  Altman is scheduled to return to court Feb. 26 for a probable cause hearing.

Authorities are waiting for autopsy results from Chapel Hill but say the couple appears to have died from blunt force trauma.


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