SPOKANE, Wash. -- Family members of the man who was shot and killed were in court Thursday for the Gail Gerlach verdict.
Gail Gerlach, was charged with manslaughter for the shooting death of 25-year-old Brendon Kaluza-Graham in March of 2013. He was found not guilty.
Brendon Kaluza-Graham’s grandparents were disappointed by the verdict. They said he was a beloved member of the family. They think the trial did not fairly represent what happened to their grandson.
“He had a future. He’s been portrayed as a one dimensional person, he’s been known as the thief,” said Ann Kaluza, Brendon’s grandmother.
Kaluza-Graham’s grandparents said the Gerlach’s changed their story in court compared to what they initially told police. They believe their grandson did not deserve to die even though he was trying to steal a car that day.
“He was in a rough patch, people turn around, we were there to support him, he had plans to go back to school,” said Ann.
During the trial, both Gail and Sharon Gerlach said they feared for their lives. Kaluza-Graham’s family does not believe the Gerlach’s could see so clearly into their car. They wonder why the Gerlach’s would feel threatened if the SUV was driving away from them.
The not guilty verdict only adds to the family’s pain and now they worry about the message it will send to the community.
“Our sadness is forever, inalterable immeasurable, our lives are forever changed. To lose a beloved member of your family in this violent, tragic way, it’s wrong,” said Ann.