(NIPIGON, ON) – DOCTOR OF TERROR
A VIOLENT NIPIGON HOME INVASION PRESCRIBED BY ADAM GERLACH
In the late evening hours of Saturday November 25,2017, an unsuspecting, elderly Nipigon couple in their 70’s would have their lives changed traumatically…….by someone who was trained to help people, not hurt.
Appearing handcuffed in the prisoner’s box for sentencing in Courtroom 205 on the afternoon of Monday, March 4, 2019 is 30 year old ADAM GERLACH.
A bespectacled, bearded GERLACH stands approximately 5’6” tall and is of average build. The prisoner is wearing a blue collared, button up shirt, dark jacket and pants. He has dark hair with a rapidly receding hairline for a man of 30 years.
GERLACH’s mother and 3 other family members are present in the courtroom to support him.
Notably absent are the victims-his father and stepmother.
His Honour, Justice Dino DiGiuseppe is presiding over this matter. Crown Attorney Rob Kozak is present along with Defence Attorney George Joseph.
THERE IS NO LOCAL TAXPAYER SUBSIDIZED MEDIA PRESENT
GERLACH plead guilty on August 28,2018 to the following Criminal Code Offences:
- Assault With a Weapon, contrary to section 267(a)
- Break and Enter, contrary to section 348(1)(b)
- Forcible Confinement contrary to section 279(2)
- Discharge Air Gun or Pistol with Intent, contrary to section 244.1(a)
- Utter threats to cause death contrary to section 246.1(1)
On Saturday November 25,2017 sometime before 11pm, Allen Gerlach and Jeannie Rocco, both in their 70’s, were in their quiet Nipigon home enjoying a casual evening of watching television.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang several times. The couple were not expecting anyone. Allen got up to go answer the door
Before he could get to the door, it was suddenly kicked in by an intruder dressed in black carrying a backpack.
That individual was Allen’s son ADAM GERLACH.
Jeannie went to grab the phone to call police, and that’s when ADAM GERLACH pulled out a gun and pointed it at her telling her to drop the phone.
ADAM GERLACH sat the the senior couple down and pulled out tie wraps to handcuff their wrists. The victims were puzzled as to why this event was occurring.
ADAM GERLACH began striking both his victims repeatedly, blaming his father for the breakup with his mother.
Earlier that day in the living room, a piece of artwork was hung on the wall and a level was used and left there for the time being.
ADAM GERLACH was choking Jeannie when ALLEN managed to grab the level to strike at ADAM GERLACH. Allen was shot twice in the head with the air pistol.
The pellets would remain lodged until January 4,2018 before Doctors were able to safely remove.
ADAM GERLACH would calm down occasionally during this terrorizing event, but would always work himself up into up a frenzy to continue with the beatings.
Both victims pleaded with ADAM GERLACH to stop the violence, but it fell on deaf ears. He used a large black flashlight as a weapon on both Allen & Jeannie.
While ADAM was busy beating Allen, Jeannie was able to make an escape out the front door of their home.
Running barefoot, through the fresh snow in her pyjamas, she frantically pounded on a neighbour’s door for help. Fortunately, the good neighbour answered the door at this late hour to find a beaten and bloodied Jeannie Rocco seeking help. The neighbour called 911
On Sunday, November 26, 2017, at approximately 12:31 a.m., officers from the Nipigon OPP Detachment responded to the call for help at the residence in Nipigon. OPP officers were in the home of Allen & Jeannie at 12:42am. Police found Allen Gerlach with significant injuries. An ambulance was called.
Allen Gerlach would need medical attention in Thunder Bay Hospital for the injuries sustained. Jeanne was also treated for her injuries.
There was a lot of blood in the home, as well as the flashlight and air pistol covered in blood. A backpack with the name “Adam Gerlach” on it was easily found. It contained zip ties, garbage bags and rope. Police began their search for ADAM GERLACH. He was no longer in the home.
A fresh snow had fallen and Nipigon OPP easily follow the fresh footprints in the snow left by ADAM GERLACH. The trail led up the street to where a vehicle had been parked, but was now gone.
There were 2 sets of footprints. One leading to the home from where the car was parked, and the other set leading back to where car was parked.
NIPIGON OPP MOVE FAST ON THE HUNT FOR ADAM GERLACH
On Sunday November 26,2017 at 1:10am, the NIPIGON OPP locate ADAM GERLACH and his vehicle at his mother’s home in the 100 block of Main Street in Nipigon.
ADAM GERLACH IS ARRESTED, CHARGED & DENIED BAIL. HE IS ORDERED TO BE DETAINED AT THE THUNDER BAY JAIL
Numerous court dates followed. Pretrials were conducted in May, July, August and November 2018 as well as January 29,2019.
SIXTEEN MONTHS IN THE THUNDER BAY JAIL SO FAR AND NOW IT’S TIME TO BE SENTENCED
There is a joint submission to the court.
Defence Attorney Joseph submits that ADAM GERLACH has no previous criminal record. His client accepts responsibility for his actions.
ADAM GERLACH penned a lengthy letter of apology to the victims dated May 10,2018
THE VICTIMS DIDN’T READ & DON’T WANT HIS LETTER.
ADAM GERLACH attended and graduated from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine here in Thunder Bay. He was in the process of getting his license to be a medical doctor in British Columbia and had ALMOST completed the process. Defence lawyer George Joseph submits that the criminal actions of his client have created a huge obstacle for ADAM GERLACH to continue his path in medical field.
There are 23 letters of character references from members of the medical community. A psychiatric/psychological report from Dr Sheppard who examined GERLACH dated July 5,2018 states that GERLACH blamed his father as the cause of his misfortune when his relationship with a woman in British Columbia crumbled.
He also felt his father favoured his sister over him.
Inside Edition sources indicate that GERLACH’s mother may have planted and nurtured the seed in ADAM that his father ALLEN was to blame for everything.
Crown Attorney Rob Kozak submits that a person’s home is their castle. And a home invasion in the middle of the night is a serious offence. The victims did nothing to precipitate this event from occurring.
Victim Impact statements are submitted to the court. Both Allen and Jeannie want nothing to do with ADAM GERLACH, ever again. They both had happy, healthy lives prior to this unprovoked attack.
The seniors were looking forward to living their golden years in peace, happiness and good health. That has changed significantly for them due to this terrorizing attack.
ADAM GERLACH is given an opportunity to address the court. He stands and speaks clearly. He expresses sorriness for his actions. The convicted man articulates that he would like to reconcile with his victims, if they wish, but concedes this may not be possible due to his actions. It’s further stated that he still wishes to pursue his career in the medical field and will endeavour to do so when released from custody.
Justice Dino DiGiuseppe is ready to rule.
“No sentence I impose will ever make these people whole. The impact on the victims is significant, both physical and emotional. This was a senseless and vicious attack. The physical scars may or may not heal, but the emotions won’t.”
Denunciation and rehabilitation are the primary sentencing objectives in this case. A balance must be struck.
GERLACH’s plea of guilt is a mitigating factor sparing the victims from having to testify. Despite these criminal actions, His Honour finds there is some potential in GERLACH.
The Crown was originally seeking a penitentiary sentence in the 4-6 year range.
GERLACH will receive an effective 4 year sentence.
GERLACH has served 16 months at the Thunder Bay Jail. This is enhanced to 24 months presentence custody.
GERLACH is sentenced to an additional 2 years less a day to be spent at the Thunder Bay Correctional Center. He could be paroled as early as November this year. And at the latest, GERLACH will be released in July 2020.
There will be 3 years of probation with condition to stay more than 100 meters away from his victims and take all required counselling and programming as ordered by probation. He receives this sentence concurrent on all counts.
GERLACH is ordered to submit his DNA and a 10 year weapon ban is imposed. The air pistol is forfeited to the Crown.
As GERLACH is being led out of courtroom by TBPS Officers, his Mother yells out from the body of the court “Take care my boy”.
The sad part is, that GERLACH had all the potential to “TAKE CARE” but didn’t. He chose to CAUSE TERROR AND PAIN instead.
To the people of Nipigon…..if you see ALLEN or JEANNIE in your daily lives, please show them some kindness and support. They could use it. Reaffirm their faith in humanity.
The team members at the Inside Edition offer our heartfelt good wishes to both of you to have a safe, happy and healthy life. You’re good people and certainly didn’t deserve this.
Thanks to our Inside Edition team member for getting this story when other local media refused to work.
ADAM GERLACH PICTURED