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

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.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • UPDATE: High Drive brush fire now 100% contained

    UPDATE: High Drive brush fire now 100% contained

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:42 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:42:03 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- On Monday afternoon a brush fire broke out on the west side of Spokane's South Hill. The fire, which broke out around 3pm, was burning on the hill between High Drive and Qualchan Golf Course. By 9pm Monday night the fire was 100% contained. This does not necessarily mean the fire is totally out, but that crews are confident it won't spread and will be out soon.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- On Monday afternoon a brush fire broke out on the west side of Spokane's South Hill. The fire, which broke out around 3pm, was burning on the hill between High Drive and Qualchan Golf Course. By 9pm Monday night the fire was 100% contained. This does not necessarily mean the fire is totally out, but that crews are confident it won't spread and will be out soon.>>
  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • 44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    44 Riverside homes destroyed or damaged in storm

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:46 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:46:53 GMT
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
    RIVERSIDE, Wash. - Many families were still at the Red Cross Shelter set up at Riverside High School in Riverside this morning.An afternoon storm destroyed or damaged 44 of their homes and knocked down close to 100 trees in Riverside Village Mobile Home Park.Many residents said the storm looked like a tornado as it swept through their neighborhood.>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • WILDFIRE WATCH 2014: DNR crews tackling new wildfire near Tonasket

    WILDFIRE WATCH 2014: DNR crews tackling new wildfire near Tonasket

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:14 PM EDT2014-07-30 01:14:11 GMT
    TONASKET, Wash.- The Department of Natural Resources says they are battling a new wildfire northeast of Tonasket. The fire is called the "Torado Mountain" wildfire. DNR crews say there are a lot of air resources on this 150-acre fire.>>
    TONASKET, Wash.- The Department of Natural Resources says they are battling a new wildfire northeast of Tonasket. The fire is called the "Torado Mountain" wildfire. DNR crews say there are a lot of air resources on this 150-acre fire. >>
  • Just when you think you've heard everything: Man rescued from flagpole

    Just when you think you've heard everything: Man rescued from flagpole

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:33 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:33:53 GMT
    Courtesy NBC Right NowCourtesy NBC Right Now
    YAKIMA, Wash.- A man in Yakima is doing okay now after firefighters rescued him from a 30 foot flag pole Monday afternoon. Firefighters said the man was working on the flag pole which is on the roof of the William O Douglas building. The building is three stories tall.>>
    YAKIMA, Wash.- A man in Yakima is doing okay now after firefighters rescued him from a 30 foot flag pole Monday afternoon. Firefighters said the man was working on the flag pole which is on the roof of the William O Douglas building. The building is three stories tall.>>
  • Burnout for Carlton Complex canceled due to winds

    Burnout for Carlton Complex canceled due to winds

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:08 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:08:18 GMT
    UPDATE: WINTHROP, Wash. (AP) - Erratic winds have forced crews to cancel a burnout operation that was planned Tuesday near the Carlton Complex wildfire to deprive it of fuel.Crews planned to send flames from a secure fire line on the northeast side of the Carlton Complex back toward the main fire, through rugged terrain that they had been unable to attack directly.>>
    UPDATE: WINTHROP, Wash. (AP) - Erratic winds have forced crews to cancel a burnout operation that was planned Tuesday near the Carlton Complex wildfire to deprive it of fuel.Crews planned to send flames from a secure fire line on the northeast side of the Carlton Complex back toward the main fire, through rugged terrain that they had been unable to attack directly.>>