Skip to comments.BREAKING: Jury acquits Spokane man of shooting fleeing car thief
Posted on 04/10/2014 5:53:29 PM PDT by narses
Tears flowed on both sides of a Spokane courtroom Thursday as a jury acquitted Gail Gerlach of manslaughter in the March 2013 death of Brendon Kaluza-Graham.
Gerlachs wife, Sharon, wept and embraced her family as the verdict, not guilty on both a first-degree and second-degree manslaughter charge, was read in open court. Ann Kaluza-Graham, grandmother of the man shot dead trying to steal Gerlachs SUV, burst into tears as she said her grandson never got a chance to answer theft charges or prove himself a changed person.
This was a tragedy, Gerlach said in a brief statement after the verdict was read. As Christians, we believe in redemption. The greatest tragedy is that Mr. Brendon Kaluza-Graham will not have a chance to turn his life around.
The family of the 25-year-old said they were disgusted with the way the media has portrayed Kaluza-Graham, saying their relative was made into a one-dimensional thief.
He had hopes, and dreams, Ann Kaluza said. She added he was made into a poster boy for the angst of the community, a sacrificial lamb. Thats not right.
Sharon Gerlach walked into Judge Annette Pleses courtroom gripping the hand of her husband Thursday. Ann Kaluza said her heart was pounding as a packed courtroom waited for a verdict in the controversial case that Gerlachs attorneys said was never about property crime.
This case should have never been filed, defense attorney David Stevens said. This police handed this over without recommendations for a reason. You dont take a vote on whether to file charges.
The jury continued to deliberate Thursday afternoon as to whether the homicide could be deemed justified. If at least 10 jurors agree that Gerlachs fatal shooting of Kaluza-Graham was justified self-defense, the public will end up paying for the trying of the case, which Stevens and colleague Richard Lee estimated to be close to $300,000.
Prosecutor Deric Martin told Kaluza-Grahams family he was disappointed with the verdict and thanked them for their support. Many family members were present throughout the trial, which began with jury selection March 31.
Jurors rejected arguments from prosecutors Gerlach acted recklessly when he fired his semiautomatic handgun once through the rear window of his SUV as Kaluza-Graham drove away the morning of March 25, 2013. They also rejected the lesser claim he acted with criminal negligence, a requisite for second-degree manslaughter.
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That's OK granny. He's changed now.
Read the comments. The left wing-nuts have their panties tied into knots.
Spokane is an odd little town. But stealing a man’s work truck is pretty much accepted as a form of suicide.
Some good news today.
“As Christians, we believe in redemption.”
Its forgiven, not forgotten. You must still pay the piper.
Jury said so.
Apparently Grandma can’t distinguish between “turn the life around” and turning signals on a stolen SUV. I don’t think the kid is gonna get the saintly award.
OK, so now he's a three-dimensional thief. Not only that, he's the very best kind of thief. A dead one.
As I said, Spokane is an odd little town. The cops (unionized) decided to stop worrying about property crimes.
Spokane police to investigate fewer thefts, burglaries
If it were Texas, he probably would never have been charged in the first place.
He should not have been. And if the jury agrees, the County will pay $300,000 in costs and attorney fees for the (falsely) accused.
“The jury continued to deliberate Thursday afternoon as to whether the homicide could be deemed justified. If at least 10 jurors agree that Gerlachs fatal shooting of Kaluza-Graham was justified self-defense, the public will end up paying for the trying of the case, which Stevens and colleague Richard Lee estimated to be close to $300,000. “
Who pays if they don’t?
I agree in a sense; it is a tragedy that this thief (and we know he was a thief given that he was shot while stealing the shooter's car) did not take any of his earlier chances to turn his life around. Having been the victim of theft and having known other victims, I am certain that this criminal did a great deal of harm to many people, both financially and psychologically.
"Gerlach acted recklessly when he fired his semiautomatic handgun once through the rear window of his SUV as Kaluza-Graham drove away the morning of March 25, 2013.
One shot kill against a moving vehicle and with little or no warning? That's not reckless, it's fine shooting - particularly with today's ammo prices.
I'd be happier if criminals went straight on their own initiative before committing many crimes, but I have heard of few, if any, cases when I minded a successful defense of life or property by the victims of crime. Committing a crime against an innocent person is in my mind betting your life that the victim will not have any surprises, and that's a big bet to make.
Yeah, hopes and dreams of taking other people's stuff. He died doing what he loved, so what's the family griping about.
Kaluza-Grahams history was riddled with trouble, including convictions for auto theft, joyriding and reckless driving.
The shootee, Brendon Kaluza-Graham.
Kaluza-Graham had a criminal history and engaged in violent behavior towards police when resisting arrest. A large amount of meth was found in Kaluza-Graham during his autopsy and meth was found on his body, which the defense team says was packaged for possible resale.
Kaluza-Graham (25) had an extensive criminal history. It dates back to 2008, when he was charged two times for taking a vehicle without permission. He was charged again in 2009 for taking a vehicle without permission. Then in 2012, he faced yet another charge for taking a vehicle without permission. That year, he was also charged with assault in the 3rd degree of a law enforcement officer, controlled substance possession which included cocaine, meth, and marijuana. He also faced charged for obstructing a law enforcement officer and using a vehicle theft tool.