Wareham man sentenced to life in prison for 2007 beating

Dec 23, 2010

A Wareham man was sentenced to life in prison on Dec. 15 for the 2007 beating death of a Newburyport man outside of Stevie B's Onset Sport Resort.

Joshua Russell, 24, was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of 34-year-old Bruce Gallagher, following a six-day jury trial in Brockton Superior Court, according to a press release from the office of Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz.

"This was clearly a tragedy that could have been avoided,” District Attorney Cruz said. "A man with four children is now dead because of the senseless act of the defendant.”

The incident occurred on on Dec. 1, 2007.

Following funeral services for their grandfather, Bruce Gallagher, Michael Gallagher, and Valerie Alberg went to Webster Hall on Main Street and met up with a friend, Daniel Martin. Upon leaving Webster Hall, the group decided to stop by Stevie B's for last call. But by the time the group arrived, last call had passed, according to the press release.

As the four were leaving Stevie B's, Daniel Martin exchanged words with some of the bar's patrons, and taunted them while holding an unopened folding knife, according to the press release.

The defendant, Joshua Russell, exited the bar carrying pool sticks, but the bar-owner took the sticks from him. Russell then retrieved a golf club from a friend's nearby car and ran towards Bruce and Michael Gallagher, according to the press release.

Russell swung at Bruce Gallagher, who protected himself until his attention was focused toward his cousin, Michael, who was being beaten by a golf club wielded by one of Russell's friends, the press release stated.

Joshua Russell then struck Bruce Gallagher in the head, crushing his skull. He died shortly after the incident, the press release indicated.

Bruce Gallagher left a wife and four young children behind.