The second suspect in the killing of a Lake Tahoe man and the attempted killing of his wife appeared in Placer Superior Court on Monday, where she denied via a public defender all allegations against her.
Samantha Scott, 33, pleaded not guilty to the homicide of Robert Gary Spohr and the shooting of his wife Wendy Wood on June 5, 2021.
Scott entered the courtroom with her hands cuffed at her waist. Her eyes darted around the courtroom as the judge read the criminal complaint, accusing her of acting as an accomplice to Daniel Serafini, the former Major League Baseball player and the couple’s son-in-law. She faces an additional charge of residential burglary, a felony.
Serafini pleaded not guilty last week to murder, attempted murder and denied the enhancement of lying in wait, which carries a possibility of the death penalty.
Investigators for the Placer County District Attorney’s Office said they could not comment on Scott’s role in the crime.
Under California law, Scott can be held accountable for Spohr’s death and Wood’s shooting even if she didn’t have a hand in pulling the trigger. According to a 2019 law signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, a person can be convicted of felony murder if they directly assisted with the homicide or if they were a “major participant in the underlying felony and acted with reckless indifference to human life.”
David Tellman, chief deputy district attorney, said this law is a factor in Scott’s case.
Prior to her alleged involvement in the crime, Placer County sheriff’s investigators said Scott was believed to have worked as a nanny for Serafini and his wife, Erin Spohr. Outside the courtroom Monday, Adrienne Spohr said Scott was Erin Spohr’s “best friend.”
Scott was arrested in South Las Vegas on Oct. 20 by the U.S. Marshals Service Nevada Violent Offender Task Force
After a “lengthy” two-year investigation, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office announced Serafini and Scott were the alleged assailants.
Serafini is suspected of appearing on surveillance tape jogging up Spohr and Wood’s driveway before they arrived back home. Four hours later, Spohr was shot in the head inside the couple’s Homewood home. Wood was shot twice in the head but survived her wounds. She underwent significant rehabilitation but died nearly a year later of an apparent suicide, her daughter Adrienne Spohr said in the courtroom Monday.
Scott is suspected of playing a role in the shooting and burglary, according to the criminal complaint.
In a victim impact statement, Adrienne Spohr urged the judge to deny Scott’s bail, describing her as “twisted.”
She said that after the attack, Scott accompanied Erin Spohr on a family vacation to Orcas Island to celebrate Wood’s survival and recovery in August 2021. Scott later visited Wood at a home where she was staying in Sacramento.
“For reasons that are likely obvious to the court, I wish that Samantha Scott never came into our family’s life,” she said. “In committing this heinous act, Samantha has demonstrated that she lacks empathy or decency. I ask the court today to please keep her out of the community so that she can hurt no one else.”
Scott remains in custody without bail. She’ll return to court Nov. 27.
Outside the courtroom, Adrienne Spohr said she believed “justice had been served.”
“To look her in the eyes and know she is going to be held accountable, that means the world to me.”