04/23/04 — Man who damaged hospital serves time

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Man who damaged hospital serves time

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on April 23, 2004 2:10 PM

A Goldsboro man who went berserk last year at a hospital and then, when he went to court, pretended that he was an undercover federal agent and assaulted an audience member outside of a courtroom had his case heard in District Court this week.

The defendant, 40-year-old Anthony Keith Gallagher of North Daisy Street, was sentenced in Wayne County District Court to 75- and 45-day terms. But because Gallagher had spent more than 120 days in prison awaiting the trial, Judge Les Turner credited the defendant with time served and released him from custody. The judge said that by law the court could not hold him any longer. He also ordered the man to take medicine for his mental illness.

Turner lectured Gallagher sternly, saying that if he got in any more trouble he would face much harsher consequences.

Gallagher also was convicted of first-degree trespass for entering the flight line at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base on Oct. 5. At the time he said President George W. Bush was coming to see him. He also tried to subpoena the president to testify for him.

Gallagher's actions on Nov. 19 resulted in an estimated $30,000 in damages at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

When Gallagher was being examined for a drug overdose, he "became disoriented," a hospital official said, and broke the sprinkler head from the fire suppression system in a ceiling. As a result, the third floor and a section of the second floor were flooded, and 11 patients, including some in the intensive care unit, had to be moved.

The 5-foot-10, 250-pound Gallagher was subdued by hospital workers and taken to another location until police arrived.

Goldsboro firefighters also were summoned and pumped the excess water from the hospital.

As a result, Gallagher was charged with damaging hospital property and assaulting a nursing supervisor and a hospital police officer.

When Gallagher went to court Dec. 18, he told a spectator, Andrew McKinney of Goldsboro, that he was an undercover federal agent and needed to see him outside of the courtroom.

When they went outside, Gallagher assaulted McKinney and threw him to the floor. McKinney kicked the doors and screamed in trying to escape. Sheriff's deputies and bailiffs heard the noise and ran to McKinney's rescue.

According to the criminal summons, Gallagher had told Deputy Betty Lantz and Bailiff Daniel Cahoon that he was a Central Intelligence Agency officer and was "doing my job."

Gallagher was charged with assaulting McKinney and impersonating a law-enforcement officer.

Gallagher also faced other charges. He was accused of assaulting Randy Wainwright of New Bern and damaging his pickup truck Nov. 16 and stealing $5.11 worth of gas Nov. 17 from a service station.

Gallagher has been sent to Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh to determine his competency to stand trial because of his long history of mental disabilities, according to court papers.

Turner sentenced Gallagher to 75 days for the charges from the hospital incident and consolidated the other charges into a 45-day sentence. Gallagher also was ordered to pay $715 to his court-appointed lawyers and $654.53 in restitution to Wainwright. The impersonation charge was dismissed.