News

Scherer found guilty in Castlewood killings

Conviction could mean life in prison

Ernest Scherer III was found guilty of killing his parents in a brutal attack inside their Castlewood home in March of 2008; a jury deliberated nearly 11 hours before finding him guilty on all counts.

Scherer, 32, was found guilty of two counts of murder for financial gain and one count of committing multiple murders in the deaths of his parents, Ernest Scherer Jr., 60, and Charlene Abendroth, 57. He was also found guilty of a use-of-a-deadly weapon clause for using a sharp instrument to kill his parents.

Scherer III looked straight down as the verdicts were read, then shook his head at his defense attorney Richard Foxall.

A juror said he believed Scherer loved his son and his parents, but added "money makes you do crazy things."

The juror, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also questioned Scherer's actions and lack of emotion at his parents' funeral and as police began to focus their investigation on him.

His aunt, Carolyn Oesterle, held hands with his ex-wife Robyn Scherer as the jury announced its decisions, with Oesterle giving a thumbs-up as the foreman announced "guilty" on each count. Robyn cried as the verdict was read. Both had testified against Scherer, and Oesterle gave a prepared statement to the press, thanking the jury, the prosecutor's office and the Alameda County Sheriff's office for their work in the case.

Sentencing is set for May 20; Scherer faces a potential life in prison without the possibility of parole.

For the past three months, jurors had heard arguments that Scherer bought a baseball bat with cash in Nevada, drove to his parents' home and brutally killed them. The defense called into question testimony from witnesses -- including Scherer's family members -- claiming they "shaded the truth."

With the guilty verdict, Scherer no longer is due to inherit approximately $1 million from his parents' estate.

In his closing argument last week, prosecutor Michael Nieto alleged that Scherer killed his parents because he faced financial pressure from his gambling debts in Las Vegas and from the purchase of his $880,000 home in Brea. Nieto said Scherer also spent large sums of money on various girlfriends that he had around the country.

Nieto said Scherer needed a $616,000 loan from his parents, as well as a smaller loan from the home's previous owners, to be able to afford the house.

Scherer's lawyer Foxall told jurors that they should find Scherer not guilty because he doesn't think the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Scherer killed his parents.

Foxall also said jurors shouldn't be swayed by prejudice against Scherer even though "you may not like his occupation or his social relationships."

Nieto and Scherer weren't available for comment after the verdict today because Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey

Horner kept in place a gag order he issued at the beginning of the case barring them from talking to the news media.

Comments

Posted by Sandee Wiedemann, a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 29, 2011 at 7:31 am

Thank you to the prosecutors for the amazing amount of evidence. This is a very sad case for the Scherer family and for the community.
Ernie gave so much to our community through his tireless service. You are missed Ernie.


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