BAY CITY NEWS— A professional poker player accused of killing his parents for financial gain in March 2008 testified in his own defense Thursday morning in his Alameda County Superior Court murder trial.
Ernest Scherer III, 32, faces two counts of murder for the deaths of Ernest Scherer Jr., 60, and Charlene Abendroth, 57, at their Castlewood Country Club home in Pleasanton.
In his second day of testimony, Scherer III continued a run-through of his background under questioning by his attorney, Richard Foxall. He testified that in 2006, he was caught counting cards and banned from playing blackjack at several Las Vegas casinos, including the Bellaggio, MGM Grand, Paris, Caesar's Palace and the Rio.
Also that year, Scherer III testified, he took a trip to Club Med in Ixtapa, Mexico, with Adrian Solomon, a woman with whom he was having an affair. At the time, he was married to his now ex-wife, Robyn Scherer, who testified for the prosecution last week.
He said that while in Mexico, he researched buying a gun in order to bring it back to the United States. Foxall asked Scherer III why he would look into buying a gun in Mexico and avoid registering it in California.
He replied, "If you don't want to legitimize paranoia, why does the government need to know who owns guns?"
Scherer III then testified that in 2007, he looked into buying a house in Brea. He began moving cash from a safe-deposit box into his bank account, he said.
He testified that he hadn't deposited the cash into his account earlier because he hadn't declared the money as income.
Scherer III will continue testifying Thursday afternoon.
The decomposed bodies of Scherer Jr., a real estate investor, and Abendroth, an accounting lecturer who taught for more than 30 years at California State University, East Bay, in Hayward, were found at their home March 14, 2008. The couple had been beaten and stabbed.
Prosecutor Michael Nieto said he believes they were killed the night of March 7, 2008.
In addition to the two counts of murder, Scherer III faces two special-circumstance allegations of multiple murder and murder for financial gain.
He also is charged with two use-of-a-deadly-weapon clauses in connection with a sharp instrument used in the murders.
Nieto told jurors in his opening statement that he believes Scherer III killed his parents because he faced financial pressure from his gambling debts in Las Vegas and from the purchase of the home in Brea.