Not guilty plea in Spokane stolen car shooting

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A Spokane homeowner who fatally shot a car theft suspect driving away in his SUV pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a manslaughter charge.

Gail Gerlach was scheduled for booking Thursday at the Spokane County Jail, but will remain free pending the trial scheduled for Sept. 3. If convicted, the 56-year-old faces eight to 10 years in prison.

Gerlach says he fired one shot on March 25 because he thought the driver waved a gun. The bullet killed 25-year-old Brendon Kaluza-Graham. He didn't have a gun, and Spokane prosecutors say it was impossible for Gerlach to see the motion he described.

The Spokesman-Review reports ( Washington law allows crime victims to defend themselves with deadly force only if facing an imminent threat, and prosecutors say Gerlach didn't face such a threat.


Information from: The Spokesman-Review,

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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