Married With Secrets on ID is examing the brutal murder of Ernest ‘Ernie’ Scherer Jr. and his wife, Charlene Abendroth, who were killed at their home in Pleasanton, California, in 2008.
The couple’s murder shocked their wealthy and exclusive community, and the horror only increased when neighbors learned their own son had killed them.
On the morning of March 14, 2008, the bloodied and beaten bodies of Ernie Scherer Jr. (60) and Charlene Abendroth (57) were found lying in a pool of blood at their home in the exclusive country club community of Castlewood.
Their decomposing remains had been discovered by an employee of Castlewood who had been contacted by the couple’s daughter, Catherine Scherer Gray, who became concerned after being unable to contact her parents.
The investigators subsequently learned that the pajama-clad couple had been murdered a week before their discovery. The couple were stabbed shortly after returning from dinner at the country club.
The police and the neighbors, who were not used to such horrific crimes happening within their community, initially suspected that the murders resulted from a robbery gone horribly wrong.
Some folks pointed to Ernie’s controversial and adversarial style of dealing with people and wondered if he’d made himself a violent enemy. However, the police would soon learn that the killer was lurking much closer to home.
Ernie Scherer was deep in debt
The police learned that the couple’s eldest son, Ernest ‘Ernie’ Scherer III, was in dire financial straits and was angered when his father refused to lend him any money.
The younger Ernie was a professional poker player, but he had gotten himself badly into debt. But he apparently saw a way out of his financial difficulties. On the death of his parents, he stood to inherit a whopping $1.5 million.
The police were suspicious of Sherer’s lavish lifestyle; as well as mounting Las Vegas debts, he had also purchased an expensive house in Los Angeles, he drove a fancy sports car, and he had numerous girlfriends with whom he liked to shower with expensive gifts.
After surveillance footage emerged, which placed Scherer’s 2001 Convertible Camaro at his parents’ house on the night that investigators suspect they were murdered, the police decided they had their man.
Scherer was arrested in Las Vegas in February 2009 and was charged with killing his parents for financial gain.
In March 2011, a jury in Oakland convicted Scherer of two counts of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
More from Investigation Discovery
Follow the links to read about more murders examined on ID.
Serial killer Dwayne Lee Harris aka The Seattle Jungle Killer, terrorized Seattle in the late 1990s when he began raping and strangling women. He later told detectives he got a “thrill out of killing.”
Celebrity skater Mark ‘Gator’ Rogowski’s career was already in a downward spiral by 1991. He then raped and murdered his ex-girlfriend’s friend Jessica Bergsten.
Married With Secrets airs at 11/10c on Investigation Discovery.