David Cramer, John Harold Luebbers’ attorney, began his opening statement of the trial by admitting that his client shot and killed Louisiana Schnell School Principal Sam LaCara on Feb. 2, 2011. Luebbers would later be convicted of murder. “There’s no disputing that fact at all,” Cramer said, noting he was not surprised at the charges […]
John Harold Luebbers, the former janitor convicted of murdering Louisiana Schnell School Principal Sam LaCara, appeared in court Friday afternoon for a partial restitution hearing. Deputy district attorney Joseph Alexander began the hearing by noting that he had submitted information regarding restitution that was only received by David Cramer, Luebbers’ attorney, earlier that day. As […]
After a little over two hours of deliberation, the jury of the John Harold Luebbers murder case returned a verdict of guilty in the charge of murder in the first degree April 24, and found all three special allegations true.
The trial began earlier that day with both prosecution and defense resting.
After submitting additional evidence for the jury’s use that had already been used in testimony, Deputy District Attorney Joe Alexander rested his case against Luebbers. David Cramer, Luebbers’ attorney, rested his case immediately after, calling no witnesses and offering no further evidence.
Editor’s note: This is Part II of a two-part story about the first day of the Luebbers trial. Part I can be found here. Louisiana Schnell School Principal Sam LaCara had a routine he went through each day. He arrived at his office around 7:30 a.m. An hour later, he stood out in front of […]
David Cramer, John Harold Luebbers’ attorney, began his opening statement of the trial by admitting that his client shot and killed Louisiana Schnell School Principal Sam LaCara on Feb. 2, 2011.
“There’s no disputing that fact at all,” Cramer said, noting he was not surprised at the charges brought against his client. “It could be murder, but looks can be deceiving. This case is about one thing — was there malice and forethought?”
Cramer claimed that the killing of LaCara was an act of passion over a “sudden quarrel.”
A short hearing concerning the case of John Harold Luebbers took place in the early afternoon of April 5 to pin down the timeline leading up to the trial. El Dorado Superior Court Judge James R. Wagoner met with Luebbers’ attorney David Cramer and deputy district attorney Joe Alexander to hammer out details of a […]
John Harold Luebbers appeared behind closed doors on April 2 to confirm the counsel is ready for a trial. After the hearing, Deputy District Attorney Joe Alexander confirmed the trial will start on April 10 with jury selection. There will be no room for the public or media during the selection. Once the jury is selected […]
John Harold Luebbers appeared in court behind closed doors Friday morning, with an end result of his trial being pushed back. Due to an out-of-service elevator, Luebbers, among other inmates, had his hearing held behind closed doors due to lack of space in a small courtroom. As a result of the hearing, Luebbers’ trial has […]
John Harold Luebbers appeared in court on Friday for a quick pre-trial hearing. Luebbers appeared alongside other inmates and accused criminals, with his portion of the proceedings taking no more than five minutes. David Kramer, Luebbers’ public defender, told El Dorado Superior Court Judge James R. Wagoner that there had been issues within his office, […]
The man accused of shooting and killing Louisiana Schnell School Principal Sam LaCara was formally indicted by a grand jury Monday morning. John Harold Luebbers, 44, was present in an El Dorado County Superior Courtroom Monday with deputy public defender David Cramer when news of the indictment was announced. Superior Court Judge James R. Wagoner presented […]
When Louisianna Schnell Elementary School principal, Sam LaCara, was shot and killed on campus by school custodian John Luebbers in 2011, the entire community was shocked and saddened. The community rallied around the school staff, students and parents to support them, but not everything and everyone can recover from such an event in just two […]
EDITOR: It’s been two years and eight months since Sam LaCara was tragically taken from us. My son was there, and to this day he hates school. He loved school until this happened, and he still enjoys learning, but he can’t bear being at school. He tells me it’s not that he doesn’t feel safe at […]
“Murder cases are never pretty,” deputy district attorney Joe Alexander told El Dorado County Judge James R. Wagoner at the start of the second day of the John Luebbers murder trial Thursday. Alexander was arguing for the use in the case of an autopsy photograph of Louisiana Schnell School Principal Sam LaCara’s heart, with a […]
The somber atmosphere of Jonathan David Pereira’s sentencing hearing took a turn to the absurd when the defendant pleaded with the court to grant him the death penalty.
Pereira, who was found guilty on six counts relating to child molestation and possession of child pornography by a jury in March, was first determined by Judge Daniel B. Proud to not be eligible for probation. After declaring this, Judge Proud opened the floor to the counsel.
Dain Weiner, Pereira’s attorney, noted that Pereira was being judged over a single incident that took place over a few minutes in Pereira’s home. He believed that the sentence of three terms of 15 years-to-life should be served concurrently.
By all accounts, Sam LaCara was a good man. Loved by his family, friends and students, LaCara was as well-known for his compassionate, empathetic nature as he was for his white short-sleeved button-up shirts. LaCara had found his true calling as an educator. For needy students, he was known to buy new shoes or help settle cafeteria […]
John Harold Luebbers, the El Dorado man charged with the first-degree murder of Louisiana Schnell School principal Sam LaCara, appeared in court Monday afternoon for a brief pre-trial hearing. During the hearing, which lasted no more than two minutes, Luebbers’ public defender, David Cramer, told El Dorado County Superior Court Judge James R. Wagoner that […]
The man accused of gunning down Louisiana Schnell School principal Sam LaCara briefly appeared in court Monday afternoon, just 24 hours shy of the six-month anniversary of the beloved administrator’s death. John Harold Luebbers was present Monday for a readiness and settlement conference in Placerville’s Main Street Courthouse. Luebbers, 44, is accused of fatally shooting LaCara, 50, […]
EL DORADO HILLS — Nearly five months after the shooting death of Louisiana Schnell School principal Sam LaCara in Placerville, El Dorado County law enforcement staged its annual Active Intruder Training this week, ensuring that all county agencies are prepared for future threats on school campuses. This year’s training, the ninth annual hosted by the El […]
The man accused of shooting Louisiana Schnell School Principal Sam LaCara dead on Feb. 2 appeared in an El Dorado County courthouse Monday morning for a brief pre-preliminary hearing. John Harold Luebbers, 44, appeared during an uneventful hearing that was ultimately continued to May 2. El Dorado County deputy district attorney Joe Alexander noted that […]
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, […]
He’s out shaking hands and welcoming students, staff and parents to school every morning, greeting the buses and trying to start every child’s day off with a smile. Ralph Friend retired from a career as an educator and adminstrator in July 2010, but after the death of Sam LaCara, principal of Louisiana Schnell School on […]
I didn’t know Sam LaCara. I don’t know his wife, Lisa, or their three daughters, so why do I wake out of sleep each morning thinking about them, wondering how they are doing? Why do I find myself thinking about them at odd times during the day and sending thoughts of support? I didn’t know […]
Senseless. That sums up the tragic event one week ago today. Our community continues to reel from the aftermath of the shooting death of Schnell School Principal Sam LaCara and ponders the motive why custodian John Luebbers allegedly murdered him. The chaos that ensued from Mr. Luebbers’ reported actions last Wednesday was all too frightening […]
EDITOR: I work for the El Dorado County Department of Transportation in Building C in Placerville. Arraignments for Superior Court are also in the same building downstairs. As a friend and I were returning to work from lunch on Friday, we were witness to the media chasing some people across the parking lot. We figured it […]
EDITOR: I am a parent of a child who attends Schnell School and I wanted to take the time to say thank you to a few people and companies in our community. While waiting to pick our daughter up at the Fairgrounds, Raley’s grocery store took the time to drag pallets of water over to […]
Forty-eight hours after Louisiana Schnell School Principal Sam LaCara was shot dead in his office, the suspected shooter pleaded not guilty to the beloved administrator’s slaying. John Luebbers, 44, was arraigned Friday afternoon inside of a packed El Dorado County courtroom. In the moments leading up to his arraignment, Luebbers and El Dorado County Chief […]
Reading from a prepared statement, Placerville Union School District Superintendent Dr. Nancy Lynch delivered the district’s response to the Wednesday shooting death of Schnell School Principal Sam LaCara. Lynch spoke to media outside the district office Thursday, backed by a phalanx of Board of Trustees members, Capt. Mike Scott of the Placerville Police Department and […]
The El Dorado man accused of gunning down Louisiana Schnell School Principal Sam LaCara has admitted to shooting the beloved administrator, the Placerville Police Department announced. Police Capt. Mike Scott told the Mountain Democrat Thursday morning that John Luebbers, the 44-year-old janitor at the Placerville school, informed investigators Wednesday he was fired hours before he […]
EDITOR: As we all have tried to process the tragic death of Schnell School’s beloved principal, Sam LaCara, no doubt we, as a community, are a mix of emotions. It’s impossible to comprehend what the LaCara family, and the students, parents and staff at Schnell, are coping with. While we wrestle with grief, disbelief and rage, we need to […]
Moments after reports of shots being fired at Louisiana Schnell Elementary School in Placerville, the Mountain Democrat’s parking lot on Broadway became an impromptu information center and rallying point. Law enforcement officials closed Schnell School Road, which intersects Broadway just yards from the newspaper’s offices. El Dorado County sheriff’s deputies, California Highway Patrol officers, Placerville […]
Elementary school Principal Sam LaCara was shot to death Wednesday morning in his office at Placerville’s Louisiana Schnell School campus. School janitor John Luebbers is believed to have mortally wounded LaCara, 50, with a single gunshot wound to the abdomen shortly before 10:40 a.m. Wednesday. Authorities believe LaCara was targeted by Luebbers. No children were […]
The following were arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol: MILES HUSER, 21, El Dorado Hills, booked Dec. 3 by sheriff’s deputies, held on $2,500 bail. JASON CRIDER, 33, Camino, booked Dec. 3 by Placerville police, held on $2,500 bail. KATHLEEN MURPHY, 42, Sacramento, booked Dec. 3 by CHP, […]