Gerald’s attorney: Consecutive sentences excessive, Supreme Court appeal coming

A state appeals court refused Tuesday to take another look at the seven consecutive five-year prison terms Brett Gerald received in a 2012 alcohol-related crash that killed seven Baton Rouge residents.

Gerald’s attorney, Tommy Damico, said the Louisiana Supreme Court will be his next stop.

The 1st Circuit Court of Appeal last month affirmed Gerald’s convictions on seven counts of vehicular homicide and the consecutive five-year sentences he received on each count. Gerald pleaded guilty to the charges in December 2012.

State District Judge William Carmichael originally sentenced Gerald in March 2013 to serve seven consecutive 10-year sentences, specifying that five years of each 10-year sentence — a total of 35 years — would be served without the possibility of probation or parole.

But seven days after Gerald’s sentencing, the state Supreme Court ruled in a separate case that vehicular homicide is the type of violent crime for which state law requires a defendant to serve at least 85 percent of a sentence.

Carmichael then resentenced Gerald in May 2013 to five years on each of the seven counts, with the sentences to run consecutively. Gerald must serve 85 percent of 35 years, or about 29 years and nine months.

Damico contends the judge erred in sentencing Gerald to consecutive terms of imprisonment on each count when all counts and charges arose from a single act.

Family members of the victims have said they want Gerald to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Gerald’s pickup collided May 30, 2012, on La. 67 near Slaughter with a car carrying seven Baton Rouge residents home from church services in Clinton.

Killed immediately were Brenda Gaines, 64; Denise Gaines, 33; Diamond Johnson, 12; Jyran Johnson, 6; and Angela Matthews Mosely, 36. Two other passengers, Willie Gaines Jr., 15, and Rogerick Johnson Jr., 13, died several days later.

All but Mosely were members of the same extended family.

A state trooper who investigated the crash testified an analysis of a blood sample taken at Lane Regional Medical Center showed Gerald’s blood-alcohol content was 0.15 percent.

In Louisiana, a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent is considered presumptive evidence of drunken driving.

Gerald, of Greensburg, had three other DWI arrests before the fatal collision and one conviction.