On March 15, 2008, Ernest and Charlene Scherer planned to go on a trip to Hawaii with their son Ernie, and daughter, Catherine. As the trip approached, Catherine Scherer tried to get in touch with her parents to finalize details of the trip but her calls went unanswered. <br><br>After several days with no response from her parents, Catherine began to worry and called an employee of the Castlewood Country Club, where they lived, to go check on them. This resulted in a 911 call to police. Both Ernest and Charlene Scherer were found brutally murdered inside their home at 18 Castlewood Drive.
The last time the Scherers were seen was on the night of March 7, 2008. They had finished dinner around 6:30 p.m. at the Castlewood Country Club restaurant before retiring for the evening. When their bodies were found by police, they were in their pajamas.
At the start of the investigation, police learned Ernest Scherer was a recreational gambler. The morning before he died, he had won a large sum of money playing at a local casino. While combing the crime scene, police found $9,000 in winnings that were left in the home -- ruling out the possibility Ernest and Charlene were murdered as a result of a home invasion.
Police say the Scherer home showed no signs of forced entry, leading them to believe the murderer was someone the couple must have known. Cops say although the home appeared to be ransacked, they believe the killer staged the crime scene to make it look like a burglary.
Cops investigating the murders of Charlene and Ernest say their son, Ernie, insisted on getting his hands on a copy of their will just two days after the murders. The will stated Ernie stood to gain more than $2 million from his parent's estate on his 30th birthday, which was only a few months away. The request raised suspicions.
Ernie and Robyn Scherer were married after both attended BYU. Ernie graduated with a degree in economics, but soon decided to forgo a career in business to pursue his passion for professional poker. Ernie traveled the country playing poker and his new career would take him away from his wife and young son for weeks at a time.
Ernie Scherer gained some success as a professional poker player. At the height of his career, he won more than $100,000 in a single year and even played in the World Series of Poker. But he soon found himself on a losing streak that caused him to become deep in debt.
In 2006, Adrian Solomon was living in North Carolina when a business trip led her to a chance encounter with Ernie Scherer. He told her he was a professional poker player who was single. There was no sign of a wedding ring. The two spent the next few days getting to know each other and after Adrian returned home they stayed in touch. Even though they were on opposite coasts, they began to develop a long-distance relationship, often meeting back in Las Vegas.
Ernie and Adrian took exotic trips together, sometimes being away for weeks at a time. Ernie took Adrian to look at engagement rings and even spoke to her mother about marrying her. Adrian was in the dark that Ernie had a wife and young son in California. Every time Ernie was with Adrian he would explain the time away to his wife, Robyn, as necessary for a poker tournament.
As a professional poker player, Ernie had trouble getting a loan to purchase his dream home in Brea, Calif. His father loaned him over $600,000 for the purchase of the house he wanted. Every month, Ernie owed his dad a payment of $3,850. He had always paid the loan on time with the exception of March 2008. Around that time in 2008, the real estate market was taking a downturn. Ernest and Charlene Scherer expressed to their son that they needed the money back that they loaned him. Cops believe Ernie murdered his parents to avoid repayment and gain his inheritance.
Police were able to eliminate Charlene and Ernest's close circle of friends as suspects, but the one person they could not eliminate was their son, Ernie. Ernie gave police a very weak alibi for the night they believe his parents were killed.
Ernie said he was exhausted from spending two days playing poker in Las Vegas and was asleep by 6 p.m. at his Brea home, almost 400 miles from the crime scene. His wife, Robyn, and their son were visiting her family in Sacramento and he was home alone. Ernie offers to investigators that they can track his movements from Las Vegas to Brea, Calif., through credit card charges and cell phone records. But investigators looking at those records find a 17-hour time gap when they believe Ernie committed the murders of his parents.
Credit: WJ Media,Jay WhoJedi Newnum
Ernest and Charlene Scherer laid to rest
On March 22 2008, the bodies of Ernest and Charlene Scherer were laid to rest. While the funeral was taking place, police were searching the house of their son, Ernie, in search of evidence.
After combing through hours of video, police spotted images of a red convertible with a black top entering Castlewood Country Club around 8:30 p.m. on the night of the murders; it leaves almost four hours later. While the car on tape looked like Ernie Scherer's red Camaro, the video was grainy and police couldn't identify the driver or license plate number. They were certain they had their killer, but would now need to piece together more evidence to bring Ernie Scherer to justice.
Just days after the murder, Ernie had all four tires replaced on his Camaro and spent $140 on a car wash at the Brea Auto Spa. The attendant said he remembered Ernie because he practically followed his Camaro through the spin cycle.
Police searching the Scherer home discover a set of very distinct bloody shoe prints they believe the killer wanted them to find. Police say the shoe prints were made slowly and methodically because they were left on a very slick, polished tile floor with no sign of smearing. Authorities determined the prints were made by a size 12 Nike sneaker, because in the prints you are able to see the distinctive Nike Swoosh symbol (circled, top left). Police believe there was no attempt to cover up these prints because the killer wanted them to believe the murderer wore a size 12 shoe. Ernie Scherer told investigators during interviews that he wears a size 10 shoe, two sizes smaller than the prints left at the scene.
When examining the direction of the shoe prints at the crime scene, something always troubled police. One set of prints led to a linen closet, but they weren't sure why. Inside the closet were a set of decorative swords, but after testing them, cops found no evidence they were used in the crime.
Robyn Scherer, Ernie's wife, told detectives that shortly after they released the crime scene, Ernie let a key piece of information slip. Ernie muttered under his breath that one of the swords in the set was missing. Ernie was one of the few people who knew how many swords were stored in that linen closet. Police believe this missing sword may have been used to inflict the cutting wounds on Ernest and Charlene Scherer.
In the spring of 2008, shortly after his parents funeral, Ernie Scherer left his wife and young son and went on a cross country joy ride. The man police now believed was a cold, calculating killer was on the run, but hiding in plain sight -- advertising where he was and practically taunting police to arrest him. Ernie Scherer placed a series of ads across the country on Craigslist seeking companionship from women.
It wasn't until February 2009, that authorities decided they had enough coincidences to arrest Ernie Scherer for the murder of his parents: The surveillance video, Ernie's cell phone story, the bloody footprints leading to the linen closet where the sword was missing, and his lies and bizarre behavior all put him behind bars. He was arrested at an apartment in Las Vegas where he was living with a new girlfriend.
At Ernie Scherer's trial, the defense would allege that there was concrete forensic evidence that exonerates him. Inside this bloody shoe print found at the crime scene, investigators discovered DNA that did not match Ernie Scherer. They labeled it 13-J. The prosecution would counter that the DNA could have been left by one of the first responders called to examine the home.
Determined to find anything that might link Ernie Scherer to the crime scene, prosecutor Mike Nieto went back over crime scene photos in search of any evidence that might have been missed. While examining the photos he noticed an image of a bloody piece of paper lying just a few feet from where Ernest Scherer's body was found.
When prosecutor Mike Nieto enlarged the photograph, he discovered the piece of paper was actually a warranty card for a youth Nike baseball bat. Nieto immediately called his investigator and said, "You got to get up here. We found the murder weapon." Before the discovery of the warranty card, police had no idea what weapon might have been used to bludgeon Charlene and Ernest Scherer.
The day his parents were killed, Ernie Scherer last used his credit card at a gas station and McDonald's in Primm, Nevada. Investigators focused in on Primm and found a receipt from a Nike Outlet store where they believe Ernie Scherer paid cash for three items: A Nike youth baseball bat, a pair of soccer goalie gloves, and a pair of size 12 Nike Impax Tomahawk shoes. Police believe all three items were used by Ernie Scherer at the crime scene later that evening.