POSTED: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 4:30pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 3:36pm
Baton Rouge, La (NBC33) — Hugs were shared and prayers spoken after Brett Gerald was sentenced to 70 years in jail for killing 7 people when he decided to drink and drive. Now everyone involved is left with a void.
"There isn't any way that we could replace their loss,” stated Darrell Gerald, father of Brett. “We just pray for the strength that they need to face what they had to face, and ask for the strength to face what we had to face."
"It was a close knit family,” said John Gaines, Jr., a member of the victims’ family. “A lot of the fabric (of the family) has been torn and ripped apart, so we're trying to get some normalcy back in our lives."
The Gaines family wore white to symbolize unity, but their sense of unity extended to the family of the man responsible for killing seven of their own. They came to the courtroom with a message of forgiveness.
"We're victims, but he (Brett Gerald) is a victim, too,” stated John Gaines, Sr. “So we just ask God to strengthen both families and hold us together until we can see better days. He's got a long time now to think - a long time."
Both families are now looking to the future - looking for closure - but left knowing the road ahead will be hard.
Gerald was sentenced to 10 years for each count of vehicular homicide; only 35 of those will be served without the possibility of parole.