Man accused in double homicide will face death penalty

Gerard Altman
Gerard Altman

Reported by Claire Simms bio|email
Posted by Heather Setzler bio|email

NEW HANOVER CO., NC (WECT) - The man accused of killing his mother and her husband in their Ogden home back in February will face the death penalty.

Gerard Altman was in court Friday when a judge signed off on the district attorney's request to try him for his life.

New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David says Friday was the last day he could have petitioned for the death penalty, and the judge agreed the facts of the case warrant that punishment.

Altman is accused of murdering his mother, Laura Gallagher, and her husband, James Gallagher, in their Ogden home.

First degree murder is the only crime where someone can face the death penalty, and prosecutors must show the murder had "aggravating circumstances."  Those circumstances include especially "cruel" or "heinous" behavior by the suspect.

"I think that after the community hears the facts of this case, which obviously, I can't get into on-air, but they will be developed in the courtroom," said David. "This is an appropriate case to try this defendant for his life."

David says he is personally trying this case and will do everything he can to get it in front of a jury.

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