GERLACH TRIAL DAY 6: Defense Presents Their Case; Gerlach's Wife - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

GERLACH TRIAL DAY 6: Defense Presents Their Case; Gerlach's Wife Takes Stand

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During day 6 of the Gail Gerlach Trial, Gerlach's wife Sharon took the stand During day 6 of the Gail Gerlach Trial, Gerlach's wife Sharon took the stand
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SPOKANE, Wash. - Day 6 of the Gail Gerlach Manslaughter trial began with the defense team moving to dismiss the case, saying the prosecution didn't prove their case. The defense claimed it was based on Gerlach not being able to see through the SUV, and the witnesses called by the prosecution couldn't prove that. The judge ultimately sided with the prosecution, and ordered the trial to continue.

 The first witness the defense called was Gail Gerlach's wife, Sharon. The defense first asked her about all of the work equipment stored in the SUV. Sharon said it was organized, strapped down and not tall. While presenting their case, the prosecution claimed there was no way Gerlach couldn't seen a threatening motion from Brendon Kaluza-Graham because of all of Gerlach's work equipment. 

The defense team then questioned Sharon about her husband carrying a gun. Sharon said "it's senseless to have protection with you if you never have protection with you," when talking about her husband carrying a gun. She said it was her husband's 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. Sharon said when her husband noticed Kaluza-Graham stealing the SUV, he ran outside, and she was about two or three steps behind him, yelling for him to stop. 

Sharon said she saw Kaluza-Graham's arm come back as he leaned between the seats, and said she thought her husband was going to die because she thought Kaluza-Graham had a gun. Sharon said she heard her husband say either "Oh God," or "Oh gun." After the shooting Sharon said she called her boss to to say "someone stole our car and I think my husband shot him."

 After Gerlach shot Kaluza-Graham, the SUV crashed into a neighbor's garage down the street. Sharon says she then went down the street to see how bad the damage was to her neighbor's property and saw the SUV had crashed through the garage, dust and tree limbs were everywhere and there was a huge hole in the back window of the vehicle. Sharon also said she could see the drive clearly.

During cross-examination, Sharon said she doesn't want anything bad to happen to her husband. Prosecutors asked why she went to check on the property damage to her neighbors house, to which she replied, "I was shocked, operating on autopilot."

Sharon told prosecutors when she went to check on the car she walked around, looked in, saw Kaluza-Graham slumped over and not moving and assumed he was dead. Sharon said following the shooting, her husband said to her, "Honey I shot him, I think I hit him."

After Sharon's testimony, court was recessed for a short period of time. 

Following the recess, the defense team called Gaylan Warren, a forensic expert. The prosecution and defense then battle for about 30 minutes on whether or not Warren should be considered an expert. The judge eventually granted the status to Warren. Warren was called in to discuss the reconstruction of the scene. Warren said the scene should've been reconstructed to connect the dots between the gun and the "terminal ballistic event." 

Warren told the court he believes Gail Gerlach was at least four feet away from the SUV because there was no gunpowder on the car, but did say he could've been at a maximum distance of 60 feet away from where the glass shattered. 

Next, the defense called Robert Smith to the stand. Smith runs a gun training and education business in Post Falls and is also a Spokane paramedic. Smith said having two childhood friends attacked sparked his interest in guns for self-defense. Smith said he's had training on how to shoot and when to shoot dating back to 1980. Eventually, Smith was asked if he has a opinion as to whether Gerlach's use of force was justified, to which the prosecution objected. The judge ruled that Smith's testimony will be allowed because it would be his professional opinion. 

The jury was then instructed to note any potential bias and weigh "this piece of the puzzle" with all testimony and evidence. Smith then testified that he believes Gerlach may well have had a "perception of threat at the time of shooting." Smith continued that the 911 tape was "indicative of Gerlach's stress state." 
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