BEVERLY — A troubled woman whose threatening emails touched off lockdowns at Beverly Hospital and the Beverly Public Library last November will spend two years on supervised probation, a judge ordered yesterday.
Ashley Galvin, 21, formerly of 15 Broadway, Beverly, pleaded guilty to four counts of threats to kill as part of a plea agreement accepted by Salem District Court Judge Matthew Machera. The remaining counts, which include bomb and extortion threats as well as additional threats to kill charges, were dismissed.
Machera said he was going along with the agreement reached between prosecutor Patrick Collins and defense lawyer Kathryn Cox in light of Galvin’s mental health issues. Among the conditions of her probation are requirements that she remain in the custody of the Department of Mental Health and comply with her treatment regimen.
Her exact diagnosis was not disclosed in court but she told Machera that she is taking psychiatric medications.
She was also ordered to stay out of the city of Beverly entirely, unless she is passing through on a highway or train.
Galvin touched off a frantic search by police after, she admitted yesterday, she used a Google mail account in the name of a man named “Joshua Jackson” to send a series of threatening emails starting on Nov. 15, Collins told the court yesterday.
The first email specifically identified her targets, including police Chief Mark Ray and eight other officers, saying “these people are going to die...that’s not a threat, it’s a promise.”
Police immediately tried to track the source of the email using the IP address, as more threats came in, identifying the hospital as a target, and then the library, unless she was paid $100 by each of the officers she had named in the earlier email.
She later sent another email demanding $500 and threatening to blow up the fire station and identifying a deputy fire chief as someone else to be killed.
Because the emails demanded that the money be brought to the library, police were watching the building all day when they noticed the woman later identified as Galvin looking around, as if concerned about being followed. They briefly spoke with her but did not have evidence to link her to the emails, and let her go.
Galvin then sent more emails, threatening to start a fire and again demanding money. She also mentioned then-Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, triggering the involvement of additional investigators from the state police.
In one of the emails, Galvin included a photo taken of the inside of the library and giving them until just after noon to meet her demands. As police surrounded the library in response, they noticed Galvin walking in and recognized her from the earlier encounter.
They asked to look at her phone and discovered the same photo of the library that had been sent to police.
Galvin later confessed, saying she had grievances with the way she was being treated by the various targets of the threats.
Galvin, who after her arraignment last fall was sent to a state hospital for evaluation, is currently living in a state Department of Mental Health facility, her lawyer told Machera yesterday.
A DMH caseworker, as well as a social worker from the Committee for Public Counsel Services, the state public defender agency that represented her yesterday, accompanied Galvin to court.
A DMH employee will have to drive Galvin to the courthouse on a weekly basis while she is on probation so that she can check in with her probation officer.
Last month, a Gloucester man, Mark Fuller, 61, was found guilty and sentenced to 18 months of probation after making “copycat” threats against Beverly Hospital. Fuller, who denied making the threats, testified that he was motivated to follow up on his own complaints against the hospital after seeing a Salem News article about Galvin’s case.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.