EAST FELICIANA, LA — A man convicted of killing seven people in a drunken driving crash will spend a lot less time behind bars. The family of those who were lost is devastated by the decision.
"This guy had 70 years now 35 when the judge sits there and says I never intended you to do a life sentence, that's slap in the face," said family member, Marcus Haines.
A judge took Brett Gerald’s original sentence and cut it in half from 10 to 5 years for each count of vehicular homicide. His attorney asked the judge to reconsider his decision and take his “extreme remorse” into consideration.
On Tuesday, May 14, the judge lowered his sentence to 35 years. After the original sentencing last month, the family said they were able to breathe a sigh of relief. That was until they got a letter in the mail on Friday that said the man convicted of killing their loved ones has asked the judge for less time behind bars.
"Just really totally disturbed by this," said family member, John Haines.
"This is truly and outrage and for the world to see an injustice like this is unheard of," stated another family member, John Haines, Jr.
John Haines lost is wife and children that day and was happy knowing justice would finally be served.
“It seems like something is seriously wrong with this whole thing. I didn't expect them to resentence Mr. Gerald," noted Haines.
And now the family is trying to find the answer to a question they all are wondering, why?
"We never played the race card in this whole trial, but it is. It is a race issue, but we never brought it to attention. We never tried to lean on that," said Marcus Haines.
Now that the Supreme Court ruled vehicular homicide as a violent crime, 85 percent of his sentence needs to be served. Though that comes out around 30 years, it doesn't reassure those who lost their loved ones.
"My family is hurting right now," noted Haines.
The only way Gerald’s new sentence can be changed again is if the legislature reconsiders that Supreme Court sentence.