Jury selection to start Nov. 29 in Castlewood murder trial

Judge bars testimony from 'jailhouse snitch' because it could violate accused killer's rights

A jury trial for a man charged with killing his parents in their Castlewood home nearly three years ago is expected to get under way after Thanksgiving.

Questions for potential jurors were completed Wednesday as both prosecution and defense attorneys prepared for jury selection Nov. 29 in the trial of alleged Castlewood killer Ernest Scherer III.

Scherer is charged with the murders of his parents Ernie Scherer Jr., 60, and Charlene Abendroth, 57, who were killed in their Castlewood home in March 2008.

Judge Jeffrey Horner ruled against a motion from Scherer III's defense attorney, Richard Foxall, who wanted to ask potential jurors about their opinions on extramarital affairs. Horner ruled that question would be asking those potential jurors "to pre-judge parts of the case."

Horner will allow jury instructions to contain clarifications for people who have served as jurors in civil cases, however. While a civil case requires only a preponderance of evidence, criminal cases require a higher standard, proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Jury selection is set to begin Nov. 29.

Motions from Foxall continued Wednesday. He successfully argued to exclude testimony from a jailhouse informant, Eric Smith. Federal case law prohibits testimony from people working as police agents, as was apparently the case with Smith, because it violates a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to have an attorney present when being questioned.

Much discussion Wednesday centered on a pair of shoes that Scherer discarded in the parking lot of a Raley's Supermarket in Fair Oaks, Calif., after learning that police were waiting for him at the home of his mother-in-law, where he was headed. Those shoes were recovered by police, but several tests showed no DNA evidence to tie Scherer to the crime.

"This is not a DNA case," prosecutor Michael Nieto told the judge. However, he said, Scherer's reasons for leaving the shoes will come into question at the trial.

"The jurors are going to wonder why the defendant was discarding his shoes," Nieto said.

Some of the defense's strategy emerged over the course of the day. In discussions before the judge, Nieto said Foxall will claim that police focused exclusively on Scherer, and not on the possibility that another person committed the crime.


Like this comment
Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 18, 2010 at 8:49 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

Maybe it's just me, but I can't seem to find the location and courtroom for this trial. What kinda reporting is that?

Like this comment
Posted by Joey
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2010 at 11:25 am

Court information Dept 013 of the Oakland court.

SCHERER, ERNEST FRANCIS 3 Nov 18, 2010 09:00 AM 013 Criminal 161707

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Nominations due Monday for TV30’s Tri-Valley ‘Coach of the Year’ award
By Jeb Bing | 0 comments | 166 views


Readers' Choice Ballot is here

It's time to decide what local business is worthy of the title "Pleasanton Readers' Choice" — and you get to decide! Cast your ballot online. Voting ends May 21st. Stay tuned for the results in the June 23rd issue of the Pleasanton Weekly.