PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

News

Quick court visit for shooting suspect

By March 7, 2011

MURDER SUSPECT John Luebbers, right, stands next to his attorney, El Dorado County deputy public defender David Cramer, during Monday's brief court appearance in Placerville. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

MURDER SUSPECT John Luebbers, right, stands next to his attorney, El Dorado County deputy public defender David Cramer, during Monday's brief court appearance in Placerville. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

To recap any of the stories, columns and letters published by the Mountain Democrat regarding the Schnell School shooting, please click here.

The man accused of shooting Louisiana Schnell School Principal Sam LaCara returned to court Monday morning for a brief pre-pretrial hearing, his second public appearance since allegedly gunning down the administrator last month.

John Harold Luebbers, 44, did not sit in the jury box, as is typical of El Dorado County inmates during court proceedings.

Instead, Luebbers was brought forward to face Superior Court Judge Douglas C. Phimister from a side room adjacent to the main courtroom. Luebbers stood next to David Cramer, his public defender.

Judge Phimister announced the receipt of two information packets from the Placerville Union School District and turned the documents over to prosecutors.

Another pre-pretrial hearing was then set for April 11.

The hearing lasted only a handful of minutes.

Luebbers is accused of shooting and killing LaCara, 50, with a .357 revolver on the morning of Feb. 2.

Authorities said Luebbers confessed to killing LaCara in the principal’s office at the Placerville school after learning he had been laid off.

Luebbers was arrested without incident later that afternoon at his El Dorado residence.

But in the days following the shooting, district Superintendent Nancy Lynch told reporters Luebbers had not, in fact, been fired.

Lynch said the district had been interviewing candidates to fill an evening custodian position. Lynch would not say whether Luebbers, the lead daytime custodian, took issue with the interviews.

“He was sent home to cool off by Sam after a dispute about personnel,” said Lynch last month. “His job was not in jeopardy.”

The memorial for LaCara was attended by more than 1,500 people. A memorial fund has since been started in his memory.

Luebbers is charged with a single count of murder as well as a special allegation of discharging a firearm in the killing.

He has pleaded not guilty.

E-mail Jim Ratajczak at [email protected] or call 530-344-5069.

Jim Ratajczak

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