Potential juror in Gerlach trial: “I might have done the same thing”


by KREM.com


Posted on March 31, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 31 at 7:11 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Jury selection began Monday for the trial of a Spokane man accused of killing another man who was taking his SUV.

Gail Gerlach, 57, was charged with manslaughter in the March 2013 shooting of 25-year-old Brendan Kaluza-Graham.

READ:Gail Gerlach pleads not guilty to fatally shooting SUV thief

Representatives from both sides of the case screened 100 jurors for possible bias. Each was asked a series of questions, including whether they had seen news coverage of the case.

One of the jurors said he saw coverage of the shooting and related to the defendant. 

“He’s a homeowner just like me,” said the potential juror. “I might have done the same thing.”

That juror, whose identity was kept confidential, was later dismissed.

Jurors were also asked if they or their family members belonged to the National Rifle Association and if anyone in their family had a criminal record.

MORE:Website collecting donations for Gail Gerlach's legal fees

Gerlach said he fired after seeing what he thought was a gun. Police found no gun in the vehicle. Prosecutors said the shooting was not justified because there was no imminent threat.

The Gerlach family said they were anxious to get Gail’s trial underway and to have some closure. The Kaluza-Graham family said losing Brendan was excruciating.

WATCH: Manslaughter suspect's wife nervous about Spokane trial

If convicted, Gerlach faces between eight and ten years in prison.

Jury selection was expected to be complete by Tuesday afternoon. Opening arguments were expected to begin Wednesday.

Gerlach planned to take the stand in his own defense.