Prosecutor attacks credibility of accused killer's testimony

Shows chart of people he claims Ernest Scherer III lied to

A prosecutor attacked the credibility of a professional poker player accused of killing his parents by getting him to admit Tuesday that he lies frequently.

Prosecutor Michael Nieto began his cross-examination of Ernest Scherer III, 32, who is accused of murdering his parents at their Pleasanton home in March 2008, by creating a chart of people that Scherer admits he lied to and listing the specific lies he told.

During three days of questioning by his attorney, Richard Foxall, Scherer said he didn't kill his parents and he wasn't in Pleasanton at the time that authorities believe they were killed.

The final question by Foxall, who first put Scherer on the witness stand last Wednesday afternoon, was whether Scherer killed his parents. Scherer replied, "I absolutely did not."

In 90 minutes of cross-examination late Tuesday, Nieto forced Scherer to say that he lied often in instances in which he had extramarital affairs or had to borrow money.

Scherer also said that, as a professional poker player, being deceptive is part of the job description.

The decomposed bodies of Ernest Scherer Jr., 60, and Charlene Abendroth, 57, were found at their home on March 14, 2008. Nieto has said he believes they were killed on the night of March 7, 2008.

Nieto told jurors in his opening statement on Jan. 4 that Scherer III killed his parents because he faced financial pressure from his gambling debts in Las Vegas and from the purchase of an $880,000 Southern California home, where he lived with his wife and their young son.

Scherer initially objected when Nieto alleged that he had never been in such deep debt before because he owed a lot of money on his house, saying that he considered his house to be an asset as well as a liability.

But when Nieto pressed him on the point, Scherer smiled and said before the trial adjourned for the day, "It was the most debt I'd ever had in my whole life."

Nieto will resume his cross-examination today.

Scherer III is accused of two counts of murder and faces two special circumstance allegations. He could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted.

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