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DA, crash victims' relatives at odds over report

3 years 11 months 1 day ago June 26, 2013 Jun 26, 2013 Wednesday, June 26 2013 June 26, 2013 4:25 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Chris Nakamoto

CLINTON - Family members of seven people killed in a drunk driving crash in East Feliciana Parish last year are at odds over a report that was reviewed before a judge sentenced Brett Gerald.

Gerald was driving drunk when he killed seven people in Slaughter. The family of the victims said they tried to review the pre-sentence report but were denied access.

"They told me I couldn't review the report," John Gaines Jr. said. "They told me only a Judge, District Attorney and Defense Attorney were allowed to review it."

Gaines Jr. said that may have violated his family's rights.

"It's taking a toll on us and we know they are aware of what it's doing to us," Gaines Jr. said.

District Attorney Sam D'Aquila said he doesn't believe the family's rights were violated. 

"I don't recall him asking to see it," D'Aquila said.  He had an opportunity to ask the court to see it, he didn't ask the court."

The family's opportunity came Tuesday, but Gaines Jr. said there was a scheduling conflict. The district attorney is giving them this Friday to look at the report, but already Gaines Jr. said Friday does not work either. He's now exploring other legal options. 

Brett Gerald's attorney is in the process of appealing his 35-year prison sentence, calling it "excessive."

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