Gerlach Makes Appearance In Court, Pleads Not Guilty - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

UPDATE: Gerlach Makes Appearance In Court, Pleads Not Guilty

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.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Pedestrian lashes out, throws rock at woman in car

    Pedestrian lashes out, throws rock at woman in car

    Friday, July 21 2017 7:59 PM EDT2017-07-21 23:59:38 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane woman says she had a scary encounter Thursday morning with a man on the sidewalk. She was driving near Regal Street by Ferris High School when he lashed out and ended up throwing a rock at her. "It worries me that somebody is out there that can be that violent," she said. She wants to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation of what he might do. She says she was dropping off her son for a sports camp 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane woman says she had a scary encounter Thursday morning with a man on the sidewalk. She was driving near Regal Street by Ferris High School when he lashed out and ended up throwing a rock at her. "It worries me that somebody is out there that can be that violent," she said. She wants to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation of what he might do. She says she was dropping off her son for a sports camp 

    >>
  • Latah County murder suspects captured

    Latah County murder suspects captured

    Friday, July 21 2017 11:25 PM EDT2017-07-22 03:25:07 GMT

    MOSCOW, Idaho - The Ferry County Sheriff's Office has confirmed they have recovered the white 2002 Pontiac Grand Am connected to recent homicide in Latah County. The two teenage suspects, Keagan Tennant and Matthew McKetta, have been on the run from law enforcement since the body of Timothy Jacob Reeves was discovered earlier this week.

    >>

    MOSCOW, Idaho - The Ferry County Sheriff's Office has confirmed they have recovered the white 2002 Pontiac Grand Am connected to recent homicide in Latah County. The two teenage suspects, Keagan Tennant and Matthew McKetta, have been on the run from law enforcement since the body of Timothy Jacob Reeves was discovered earlier this week.

    >>
  • Biker comes face-to-face with bear on Canfield Mountain trail

    Biker comes face-to-face with bear on Canfield Mountain trail

    Friday, July 21 2017 9:20 PM EDT2017-07-22 01:20:31 GMT

    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - With it’s windy trails and scenic vistas. Nestled right above Coeur d’Alene, Canfield Mountain attracts all sorts of people. “It's a great area,” Tony Prka said. Prka is an avid Canfield Mountain bike-rider. He says he was riding like usual Tuesday night when all of a sudden. “I hit my brakes right away and then I was like 'man I think that was a cub' so I got off my bike and I started to run backwards,” he said. Not 

    >>

    KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - With it’s windy trails and scenic vistas. Nestled right above Coeur d’Alene, Canfield Mountain attracts all sorts of people. “It's a great area,” Tony Prka said. Prka is an avid Canfield Mountain bike-rider. He says he was riding like usual Tuesday night when all of a sudden. “I hit my brakes right away and then I was like 'man I think that was a cub' so I got off my bike and I started to run backwards,” he said. Not 

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

  • Train derails, spilling grain near Spangle

    Train derails, spilling grain near Spangle

    Saturday, July 22 2017 2:14 AM EDT2017-07-22 06:14:30 GMT

    SPANGLE, Wash. - A train carrying grain has derailed along Highway 195 between Plaza and Spangle.  The tracks where the five cars tipped is now closed for the weekend.  The tip over blocked traffic for several hours Friday afternoon. The company who owns the tracks says crews will be headed out Saturday to clean up the crash. 

    >>

    SPANGLE, Wash. - A train carrying grain has derailed along Highway 195 between Plaza and Spangle.  The tracks where the five cars tipped is now closed for the weekend.  The tip over blocked traffic for several hours Friday afternoon. The company who owns the tracks says crews will be headed out Saturday to clean up the crash. 

    >>
  • Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 21st

    Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 21st

    Friday, July 21 2017 5:38 PM EDT2017-07-21 21:38:23 GMT
    Mad Minute for 12/30/16Mad Minute for 12/30/16

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 21st.

    >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Friday, July 21st.

    >>
  • Federal grand jury indicts US soldier on terrorism charges

    Federal grand jury indicts US soldier on terrorism charges

    Friday, July 21 2017 11:50 PM EDT2017-07-22 03:50:00 GMT
    Federal grand jury indicts US soldier on terrorism chargesFederal grand jury indicts US soldier on terrorism charges

    HONOLULU (AP) - A federal grand jury in Hawaii has indicted a U.S. soldier for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang was indicted Friday after he was arrested by an FBI SWAT team on July 8. Kang was ordered held without bail. Because of the indictment, Kang will no longer have a preliminary hearing that was scheduled for Monday. Kang's court-appointed attorney Birney 

    >>

    HONOLULU (AP) - A federal grand jury in Hawaii has indicted a U.S. soldier for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State group. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang was indicted Friday after he was arrested by an FBI SWAT team on July 8. Kang was ordered held without bail. Because of the indictment, Kang will no longer have a preliminary hearing that was scheduled for Monday. Kang's court-appointed attorney Birney 

    >>