Ernie Scherer Murder Case to Be Featured On CBS’ “48 Hours”



It was one of the darker stories in the recent past of poker history. In 2008, professional poker player Ernie Scherer III’s parents were found murdered (a week after their death) in their California home. That story will get airtime tonight on CBS as a part of the series “48 Hours.”

“48 Hours” is a long-running series that focuses usually on a murder investigation (most killers are apprehended within two days of the crime, hence the show’s title). The stories profiled on the series have dramatic twists and turns, involve sizeable amounts of money or are unique in their own rights. The Scherer case fits the bill in all of those areas and, during tonight’s broadcast, the lead investigator is prominently featured as he recounts the search for justice.

According to writer Julia Dahl of CBSNews.com, Detective Sergeant Scott Dudek “sensed that something seemed off.” Dudek stated to Dahl that the crime scene “mess” seemed too perfect and that bloody footprints around the home were too “perfectly placed.” When asked by Dahl about his “gut feelings” upon seeing the crime scene, Dudek said, “I definitely thought it was staged. A lot of things that you would assume would be taken in a robbery (the elder Scherer was carrying approximately $9000 when he was killed and there was plenty of jewelry in the bedroom) were still in the house.”

Dudek explains the procedures of the case, noting that family members were “devastated” at the murders of the Scherers and could produce “very good alibis.” With Scherer III, however, Dudek noted that “nothing ever checked out” in discussing the case with him. “In my 28 years of working for the Sheriff’s Department, he was probably one of the persons I hated the most, just because of his attitude throughout this thing and his arrogance,” Dudek is quoted by Dahl. “I think he honestly believed – and I think it had a lot to do with his poker – that he was going to get away with it and that he could bluff everybody.

For those that don’t remember the case, the then 29-year old Scherer was arrested in February 2009 and charged with the killings of his mother and father after a year of investigation. Prior to his arrest, law enforcement officials considered Scherer III as a “person of interest” in the crime. More investigation revealed that Scherer, who was able to win around $340,000 on the tournament poker circuit to that point, was deeply in debt and believed that he would get an inheritance of $1.5 million with the death of his parents, which investigators believed was the reason for the elder Scherers’ murders.

The “smoking gun” was eventually found – a Nike baseball bat with a warranty card still attached – and investigators traced the bat back to a purchase by Scherer III at a Nevada Nike store. While buying the bat, Scherer III also bought size 12 tennis shoes (even though he wore size 10) and soccer goalie gloves. The bloody shoeprints at the crime scene were a size 12.

Scherer was tried in Las Vegas in 2010 and, on January 4th, 2011, was convicted of the murders of his parents. He was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the crime.

It isn’t known how much poker will play into the broadcast tonight, but Dudek continually talks about Scherer III’s “gambling debts” and how he believed that Scherer III thought his poker skills would get him through the trial, especially when he testified. “I personally couldn’t believe that he testified, but he just felt that he could bluff anybody,” Dudek confided. “He thought, ‘Once they finally see me, the real Ernie Scherer, they are just going to fall in love with me and, in fact, believe me.’ He was just evil.”

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