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Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Cops: Pro Murdered

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

A professional poker player and his wife who were both found dead in their home last week were murdered, authorities said Monday.

And the killings are being investigated to see whether poker played any role, they said.

According to media reports, Ernest Scherer Jr., 60, and his wife, Charlene Abendroth, 57, were found dead Friday morning shortly before 1 a.m. in their home at the Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton, California, USA, near Oakland, California, USA. After their daughter in Utah was unable to reach them by telephone, she contacted someone at the country club who went to their home, found the bodies and called authorities.

At a press conference Monday, law enforcement authorities said the poker pro and his wife of 31 years were savagely beaten inside their home and were dead for at least a week before their bloodied and pajama-clad bodies were discovered.

“It was just a horrible, grisly scene,” said Detective Sgt. Scott Dudek, a homicide investigator for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department.

“They were beaten severely,” he said. “There was a lot of blood everywhere. These people suffered a great deal.”

No arrests have been made and investigators would not speculate as to the motive, Dudek said.

He did say, however, that the dead couple appear to have been targeted and that the house was ransacked. =A0 Dudek also noted that because Scherer and his son, Ernest Scherer III, played poker professionally, investigators are probing whether poker connections to the father or son had anything to do with the killings. =A0=A0

According to tournament records, the elder Scherer finished in the money in six poker tournaments in his career, winning a total of $25,108, including $7,775 at an Omaha tourney at last year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas.

The younger Scherer has finished in the money in 23 poker tournaments in his career, winning a total of $298,847, including $34,362 at a Texas hold ‘em tourney at the 2006 WSOP.

In another development, authorities announced that the slain couple’s children are offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer or killers.

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected].)

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