KHQ.COM - KHQ has obtained several photographs released in the March shooting death of Brendon Kaluza-Graham. We're providing these photographs to put the story into context and to provide further details for you.
Prosecutors announced Wednesday that Gail Gerlach, the man who shot 25 year-old Brendon Kaluza-Graham as he was driving away in a stolen car, will be charged with first degree manslaughter. Gerlach will be booked into jail and arraigned on June 12th. Major Crimes Detectives, the Chief Criminal Deputy and Deputy Prosecutor have met, and two of the three said Gerlach should be charged with murder.
"Mr. Gerlach is disappointed in the charging decision, but he's looking forward to his day in court, he maintains his innocence," said Richard Lee, Gail Gerlach's Attorney. Regardless, Prosecutor Steve Tucker said Gerlach will be charged with first degree manslaughter because investigators can not prove there was a motive or intent to kill. First degree manslaughter is based on recklessness. Prosecutors say that Gerlach was not in danger when he fired the shot. A person needs to have fear of imminent danger that something bad's going to happen before you are legally permitted to use deadly force.
Two major aspects in this case are that Kaluza-Graham was driving away from the scene, and the angle that the bullet went in. Detectives say that the car was 40 to 60 feet away from Gerlach and going 50 miles per hour at the time. Prosecutor Steve Tucker says he does not believe Gerlach was in danger when he chose to fire the shot. He called the shot "1 in 1,000".
Prosecutors are also filing a weapons violation enhancement. Together, if he is convicted, Gerlach will face 8 to 10 years in prison. But if he's found "not guilty", the jury will be asked to come back with a second verdict, as to whether what Gerlach did was in self defense.