The 30-year-old Greensburg, La., man accused of killing seven people in a May 30 head-on collision pleaded guilty to seven counts of vehicular homicide Monday before a state district judge and a crowded courtroom audience.
State District Judge William G. Carmichael set March 12 as a sentencing hearing for Brett G. Gerald.
The Advocate reports Gerald was scheduled to go on trial Tuesday. As a result of the plea, he faces five- to 30-year prison sentences on each count and possible fines ranging from $2,000 to $15,000 per count.
District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla said Gerald was not offered a plea bargain in the case, and the sentence will be up to the judge after he receives a pre-sentence investigative report from the state Office of Probation and Parole.
Five people in a car driving on La. Highway 67 south of Clinton died instantly in the collision with Gerald’s pickup: the driver, Brenda Gaines, 64; Denise Gaines, 33; Diamond Johnson, 12; Jyran Johnson, 6; and Angela Matthews Mosely, 36, all of Baton Rouge.
Two other passengers, Willie Gaines Jr., 15, and Rogerick Johnson Jr., 13, also of Baton Rouge, died several days later. All but Mosely were members of the same extended family.
They had attended a service at a Clinton church pastored by Mosely’s father and were traveling home to Baton Rouge when Gerald’s vehicle crossed into their lane of traffic, narrowly missing a vehicle traveling ahead of the Gaines car.
Gerald had been celebrating his 30th birthday at a Zachary restaurant and bar before the collision.
A state trooper who investigated the crash testified earlier that 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. The newspaper reports Gerald had three other DWI arrests before the crash.
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