Jurors found Ernest Scherer III guilty of murder Monday in a packed courtroom after a lengthy trial during which the former poker player's friends and family testified against him.
The jury began deliberating Thursday. They found Scherer III guilty on both murder counts for killing his parents Ernest Scherer Jr., 60, and Charlene Abendroth, 57, in their Pleasanton home in March 2008. Jurors also ruled on a supplemental count in which Scherer III murdered for financial gain. The verdict could send him to prison for life without the possibility of parole.
It was a quiet scene as the verdict was read, with bailiffs flanking nearly every entrance and exit of the crowded courtroom. Scherer III, in a blue dress shirt and black slacks, shook his head when the first guilty verdict was read and kept his eyes locked on the tabletop in front of him for a long while.
Scherer III's ex-wife, Robyn Scherer, and aunt, Carolyn Oesterle, were sitting next to each other when the verdicts were read. Both were witnesses against him during the trial. As the court clerk announced the rulings, Robyn Scherer teared up and Oesterle held two palm-sized, ornamental birds mounted on sticks in remembrance of her murdered brother and sister-in-law, stroking them softly as she listened.
Oesterle, Robyn Scherer, other family members and prosecutors shared hugs and backslaps with Deputy District Attorney Michael Nieto, who brought many of them to the stand as he argued the prosecutors' case against Scherer III. Nieto had said during his closing statements that the murders and trial process was an unspeakably harsh endeavor for the Scherer family.
Judge Jeffrey Horner scheduled Scherer III's sentencing for May 20.
Abendroth, who was a longtime administrator and accounting professor at Cal State East Bay, and Scherer II, a real estate investor who once served as a school board member in San Ramon, were found beaten to death March 14, 2008, in the entryway of their home in the exclusive Castlewood neighborhood.