Two days after investigators believe Ernest Scherer Jr. and Charlene Abendroth were killed in their Castlewood Country Club home, their son Ernie Scherer III purchased four new tires for his Camaro, the car that matched one captured entering and exiting the exclusive neighborhood on a security tape, according to testimony given in an Oakland courthouse Tuesday.
Alameda County Sheriff's deputy Rafael Alvarez, called to testify by prosecutor David Stein, said Tuesday in court that the store manager for a tire shop in Brea, Calif., where Scherer III lived with his wife and young son, produced receipts showing the defendant purchased four new tires for his red Chevy Camaro convertible on March 9, 2008. Scherer Jr., 60, and Abendroth, 57, were found dead March 14, 2008 clad in pajamas in their home. Investigators have said they believe the pair were brutally beaten and stabbed to death March 7 after coming home from a dinner at the Castlewood club.
Scherer III, 31, was arrested in February in Las Vegas and now faces double homicide charges with two special circumstances that could lead to the death penalty. He has pled not guilty. Tuesday's proceedings were part of a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence for Scherer III to stand trial.
The country club's security cameras captured footage of a vehicle that looked like a red Camaro, alleged to be Scherer III's, entering and exiting the area the night of the killings.
Casey McCarthy, who works at a Lodi Chevrolet dealership and belongs to a fourth-generation Camaro car club, testified Tuesday as the prosecution's expert witness that the vehicle seen on the video was a red Camaro convertible between the years of 1998 and 2002 and had after-market parts such as rims and headlights. In an affadavit, sheriff's investigators have said a 2001 red Camaro convertible was registered to Scherer III.
With testimony at the preliminary hearing wrapped up for now, the next scheduled hearing is planned for Aug. 18, where both sides are expected to hear testimony from another sheriff's detective. Judge Jeffrey Horner, who has been presiding in the preliminary hearing, is expected to then decide whether to proceed with a trial.