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.

HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • 6-year-old, three others wounded in shooting outside Texas Roadhouse

    6-year-old, three others wounded in shooting outside Texas Roadhouse

    Monday, February 19 2018 12:16 AM EST2018-02-19 05:16:00 GMT
    6-year-old, three others wounded in shooting outside Texas Roadhouse6-year-old, three others wounded in shooting outside Texas Roadhouse

    SAN ANTONIO, Tex. - A 6-year-old child and three other people were injured in a shooting Sunday night outside a Texas Roadhouse restaurant. News 4 San Antonio reports that authorities were called to the Texas Roadhouse at Cinema Ridge at about 8:45 p.m. for reports of an active shooter. Police said four people, including a 6-year-old child were hit when a suspect opened fire outside the restaurant, unloading an entire clip. News 4 

    More >>

    SAN ANTONIO, Tex. - A 6-year-old child and three other people were injured in a shooting Sunday night outside a Texas Roadhouse restaurant. News 4 San Antonio reports that authorities were called to the Texas Roadhouse at Cinema Ridge at about 8:45 p.m. for reports of an active shooter. Police said four people, including a 6-year-old child were hit when a suspect opened fire outside the restaurant, unloading an entire clip. News 4 

    More >>
  • 14-year-old North Carolina girl found 5 months after her disappearance in Georgia

    14-year-old North Carolina girl found 5 months after her disappearance in Georgia

    Sunday, February 18 2018 11:43 PM EST2018-02-19 04:43:04 GMT
    Courtesy CMPDCourtesy CMPD

     CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A 14-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina girl who disappeared five months ago was found in Georgia this week. WSOC TV reports that Nakia Williams was last seen Sept. 7, 2017 after leaving her home on Wiegon Lane. Georgia law enforcement officials confirmed with WSOC Wednesday that she was seen in Emanuel County, Georgia. Nakia’s mother told WSOC that she was found that same day in Lyons, Georgia, 

    More >>

     CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A 14-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina girl who disappeared five months ago was found in Georgia this week. WSOC TV reports that Nakia Williams was last seen Sept. 7, 2017 after leaving her home on Wiegon Lane. Georgia law enforcement officials confirmed with WSOC Wednesday that she was seen in Emanuel County, Georgia. Nakia’s mother told WSOC that she was found that same day in Lyons, Georgia, 

    More >>
  • Drowsy driver rolls car in Franklin County

    Drowsy driver rolls car in Franklin County

    Sunday, February 18 2018 11:25 PM EST2018-02-19 04:25:01 GMT
    Franklin County Sheriff's OfficeFranklin County Sheriff's Office

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, Wash. - The Franklin County Sheriff's Office is reminding travelers when it comes to driving the roads, if you snooze, you could lose. In a Facebook post Sunday, they compared drowsy-driving to drunk-driving, saying both are dangerous. Deputies say a man driving the car, pictured with this article, fell asleep on his way home from work. They say his car left the road and hit a guard-rail before rolling. The man was wearing 

    More >>

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, Wash. - The Franklin County Sheriff's Office is reminding travelers when it comes to driving the roads, if you snooze, you could lose. In a Facebook post Sunday, they compared drowsy-driving to drunk-driving, saying both are dangerous. Deputies say a man driving the car, pictured with this article, fell asleep on his way home from work. They say his car left the road and hit a guard-rail before rolling. The man was wearing 

    More >>