Man held in fatal incident


An 18-year-old apprentice auto mechanic from Harwood was ordered held on $1 million bail yesterday after he was charged with murder in a rock-throwing incident that killed a father of three who was driving home from work.

William Matthew Donely, of the 4500 block of Owensville Sudley Road was charged with second-degree murder in the April 3 death of Kevin Michael Gallagher after turning himself in yesterday at the Anne Arundel County Southern District police station.

In an indictment unsealed yesterday, Mr. Donely also was charged in 10 other rock-throwing incidents that occurred the same night along Route 258 near Solomons Island Road.

Mr. Gallagher, 38, was killed when a baseball-sized rock crashed through the windshield of his 1993 Dodge Dakota truck, which overturned on Route 258 near Solomons Island Road about 9:30 p.m.

Police said Jason Wayne Wyvill, 16, of Lyons Creek Mobile Estates in Lothian, who was charged as an adult in Mr. Gallagher's death, threw the rock that caused the fatal crash while he was in a Chevrolet Corsica driven by Mr. Donely.

In the days after the accident, police set up roadblocks and questioned motorists about possible leads, eventually finding two witnesses who identified Mr. Donely, according to charging documents.

Mr. Donely, in a written statement he gave to police, identified the Wyvill youth as the rock-thrower and told officers that the youth was at a drug rehabilitation house in Hampton, Va., where he was arrested June 20, police said.

The youth was indicted on second-degree murder charges Monday. Mr. Donely's indictment was unsealed yesterday by Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. at the request of State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee.

Assistant State's Attorney Warren W. Davis III said the indictment was sealed to ensure that Mr. Donely did not try to flee before he was arrested.

Both Mr. Donely and the Wyvill youth were indicted on 36 counts of reckless endangerment, malicious destruction of property, assault and conspiracy charges in connection with the rocks that were thrown at 11 cars and trucks April 3, according to court records.

At a brief hearing yesterday, Judge Eugene M. Lerner set bail for Mr. Donely at $1 million after Mr. Davis argued that Mr. Donely helped the Wyvill youth pick the rocks that were thrown and that both defendants set out that night to cause an accident.

"What you have is a horrible act with tragic consequences," Mr. Davis said.

The Wyvill youth also is being held on $1 million bail.

Mr. Donely's lawyer, Gill Cochran, had argued that bail should be set at $100,000 because his client turned himself in, had no criminal record and has worked steadily for nine months as an apprentice auto mechanic at an Annapolis auto dealership.

Mr. Cochran said he fears for Mr. Donely's life because the Wyvill youth, who also is at the Anne Arundel County jail, knows his client identified him to police and helped investigators track him down.

"That's a really small jail over there, and I have a real concern for his safety," Mr. Cochran said.

Judge Lerner agreed to issue an order directing jail supervisory personnel to keep the defendants separate and to "do everything they can" to ensure his safety.

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