Family and friends remember 7 people killed by drunk driver

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It has been one year since a drunk driver killed seven people in Slaughter. The Gaines family says on May 30, 2012, they learned several family members had been killed and were at a local hospital praying for two nephews on life support.

Brett Gerald, 30, was convicted of killing those seven people. But one year later the family says the pain is still there.

Prayers could be heard from the steps of the state capitol Thursday evening, as family and friends of the seven killed rallied for tougher DWI laws.

One year later, it's still emotional for family members to think about.

"We read an accident report. You hear your moms brains were smashed on the windshield. She couldn't have an open casket...we couldn't say goodbye to her," Delia Gains said through tears.

Delia and her brother, Marcus, lost their mother, sister, a niece and nephews in that crash. A drunk Brett Gerald plowed into their car, the family was on their way back from bible study.

Gerald had been out celebrating his 30th birthday.

"He killed five people instantly. Two in critical condition. And you get out with a $250,000 bond. Something was wrong right then and there," said Marcus Gaines.

Derrick Dunn, 15, has also spent the past year missing his mother. She too was killed in the accident.

"For Mother's Day, I went to the graveyard, to her grave," Dunn said.

Candles were lit on the steps of the state capitol to remind everyone about the lives that were lost. But the families of the seven victims say they are also shining a light on what they believe is wrong with the justice system.

It was just weeks ago when the man who killed their loved ones asked for his sentence to be reduced. Gerald was originally given 10 years for each person he killed. That equaled a total of 70 years. The judge then said Gerald would be eligible for parole after serving 35 years.

But on May 14, two days after Derrick Dunn visited his mother's grave, the man who killed her had his sentence reduced to five years for each person killed, only 85 percent of which he has to serve. Meaning he could be a free man in less than 30 years.

"He's waiting on his 29 years to pass and we have a lifetime to deal with our family not being here," said Delia Gaines.

Gerald's attorney said he could serve even less time when you factor in 'good time'.

"It's like our families didn't mean anything to no one," said Gaines.

Now the question the family is asking: Did they get justice or are they the victims of another tragedy.

The Gaines family has started a support group on Facebook called 7 slaughtered in Slaughter, Louisiana. They say they do not intend to stop asking questions until they get answers.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.