Gerlach Makes Appearance In Court, Pleads Not Guilty - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: Gerlach Makes Appearance In Court, Pleads Not Guilty

Posted: Updated:
SPOKANE, Wash. -

SPOKANE, Wash – Exactly two weeks after Gail Gerlach was charged with 1st Degree Manslaughter in the shooting death of Brendan Kaluza-Graham, he appeared before a Spokane County Judge for the first time, pleading not guilty.

Gerlach was arraigned before Judge James Triplet Wednesday afternoon, alongside his attorney Richard Lee, surrounded by his wife, Sharon Gerlach, and both sets of Kaluza-Graham's grandparents.

Gerlach must be booked and released from the Spokane County Jail on Thursday, but is allowed to stay at home during the court proceedings.  Outside the courtroom, Gerlach said he hasn't thought much about what that will be like.

"I'm not worried about it though, we'll just take it one day at a time," he said.

It was the morning of March 25th when Gerlach's Suburban was stolen out of his North Spokane driveway.  Gerlach called 911, and ran after the thief telling him to stop.  Gerlach reported he saw the driver reach back with something he thought was a gun, so he fired one shot from his concealed weapon. 

That shot went through the back window of his Suburban, through a car seat, through the driver's headrest, and into Brendan Kaluza-Graham's neck, killing him.

"It will get better when all this is over, but it's never going to be the same," Sharon Gerlach told KHQ.  "Our lives are irrevocably changed.  It's never going to go back to the way it was."

The Gerlach family was met at the Spokane County Courthouse by a support rally organized over Facebook, on a page with more than 1,800 supporters. The crowd of roughly a dozen people – many of whom have never met Gerlach – met to champion his defense, calling the shooting self-defense.

"If my family were in this situation, I would have done the same," supporter Chrissy Buchmann told KHQ.  "Gail's a father, he's a grandfather, he owns a business here in town.  He's going to lose everything, and to me, family is important and I think he should be home with his family."

"Everybody's playing Monday quarterback guessing what this guy did, when it was his life on the line and he had a split second to react," supporter Greg Melrose told KHQ.  "He fired one shot."

In the months since the shooting, Spokane Police worked to finish its investigation, before handing it over to the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office.  After meeting with deputy prosecutors and Major Crimes detectives, Chief Prosecutor Steve Tucker announced Gerlach would, in fact, be charged.

Both sets of Brendan Kaluza-Graham's grandparents sat in court for Gerlach's arraignment, but asked not to be on camera. 

Before the hearing, Mike Kaluza told KHQ, "This is just the next step in the process, and we'll go from here."

The Kaluza and Graham families met with prosecutors before Wednesday's hearing to get a better understanding of the court process, and what to expect over the next several weeks and months.

Gerlach's trial is set for September 3rd, but his attorney Richard Lee says it will likely be delayed.

UPDATE: On Wednesday afternoon Gail Gerlach pleaded not guilty to 1st degree manslaughter. Gerlach's trial is set for Sept. 3rd, he's ordered to have no contact with Kaluza-Graham's family.

PREVIOUS STORY:

From Kelsey Watts:  Gail Gerlach's will make a court appearance today. He's being arraigned on one count of 1st degree manslaughter in the March 25th shooting death of Brendan Kaluza-Graham. His supporters are expected to hold a support rally outside the courthouse, and Kaluza-Graham's grandparents will be there too.

  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Last body in Washington mudslide found

    Last body in Washington mudslide found

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:42 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:42:48 GMT
    EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - The Snohomish County sheriff's office says search and rescue personnel believe they have located the last body from the March 22 mudslide that killed 43 people at Oso, Washington. Although the search for victims ended in April, workers have been screening debris and watching for the body of 44-year-old Molly Kristine "Kris" Regelbrugge.More >>
    EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - The Snohomish County sheriff's office says search and rescue personnel believe they have located the last body from the March 22 mudslide that killed 43 people at Oso, Washington. Although the search for victims ended in April, workers have been screening debris and watching for the body of 44-year-old Molly Kristine "Kris" Regelbrugge.
    More >>
  • Rainfall, other factors triggered Washington slide

    Rainfall, other factors triggered Washington slide

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:34 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:34:00 GMT
    SEATTLE (AP) - A team of scientists says intense rainfall likely played a major role in triggering a deadly landslide in the state of Washington.The report released Tuesday says many other factors such as previous landslide activity also weakened the slope that collapsed on March 22, killing 43 people in Oso about 55 miles northeast of Seattle.More >>
    SEATTLE (AP) - A team of scientists says intense rainfall likely played a major role in triggering a deadly landslide in the state of Washington.The report released Tuesday says many other factors such as previous landslide activity also weakened the slope that collapsed on March 22, killing 43 people in Oso about 55 miles northeast of Seattle.More >>
  • Action Cam: Youth Tennis Camps Available This Summer At Spokane Racquet Club!

    Action Cam: Youth Tennis Camps Available This Summer At Spokane Racquet Club!

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 12:55 PM EDT2014-07-22 16:55:19 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Nestled on Spokane’s South Hill, members can enjoy playing tennis in quiet seclusion while still remaining only a short drive from the convenience of the Downtown metropolitan area. Adults and children alike are assured to find a lesson, clinic or something playful just for them in an environment tailored for the whole family.More >>
    KHQ.COM - Nestled on Spokane’s South Hill, members can enjoy playing tennis in quiet seclusion while still remaining only a short drive from the convenience of the Downtown metropolitan area. Adults and children alike are assured to find a lesson, clinic or something playful just for them in an environment tailored for the whole family.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.