Edward John Schaefer, a 44-year-old Novato resident and serial drunk driver, was stabbed and killed inside San Quentin’s reception center, the first killing of an inmate by another in San Quentin in 13 years.
Schaefer was stabbed in the neck and chest in a prison fight at approximately 10:35 a.m. on July 16, three days after arriving here. He was pronounced dead at Marin General Hospital that evening.
24 YEARS TO LIFE
On July 13 Judge Terrence Boren of Marin County Superior Court sentenced Schaefer to 24 years to life for second degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter of Melody Osheroff, a nine-year-old Novato girl in May 2009. He was also found guilty of severely wounding the young girl’s father, Aaron Osheroff.
As Melody and her father traveled through a crosswalk on San Marin Drive at San Carlos Way in Novato, Schaefer hit them both while speeding on his motorcycle between a car that had stopped for the young family and another parked vehicle. The family members were hit at more than 60 miles per hour, said prosecutor Geoff Iida.
Over the years Schaefer had amassed eight previous convictions for driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. In California an 0.08 percent blood alcohol level constitutes drunk driving. Schaefer’s blood alcohol level was reported by authorities to be 0.16, twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
San Quentin inmate Frank Souza of San Jose, 31, is suspected of stabbing Schaefer with a weapon crafted from bed parts. These facts are currently under investigation, according to Lt. Sam Robinson, San Quentin’s Public Information Officer.
Prison authorities said the weapon utilized is one known as a “bone crusher,” a prison-manufactured metal spear bigger than an average prison weapon. Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the state prisons department, said, “They’re meant to do a great deal of damage.”
Suspect Souza was convicted in Santa Clara County Superior Court of murder in the first degree for the strangling and beating to death of John Carl Riggins, 59, a homeless man. Riggins died in an alley near Lincoln Avenue in San Jose in August of 2007. Authorities said Souza and Riggins had gotten into an altercation after Souza stole a mountain bike from Riggins.
Lt. Robinson said Souza arrived at San Quentin in January 2010 to begin his sentence of 60 years to life. Souza had been in prison on three prior occasions for grand theft, receiving stolen property and threatening a prosecution witness with force and violence.
‘WE FORGIVE THEM’
Schaefer, no neophyte to the Department of Corrections, had served a four-year state prison sentence for corporal injury to a spouse. He also served county jail time of six months or less in Marin County Jail for prior DUI convictions.“They got their wish, but we forgive them,” said Lesley Bonilla, Schaefer’s sister. “We are Christians and we forgive everyone involved in this.”
Prior to Schaefer’s death, San Quentin’s last fatal prison killing of an inmate by another inmate was in 1997, officials said. The victim of that killing was Jimmy Palma. He was murdered by members of his own gang after being found guilty of killing a mother, her two children and two other innocent people in a gang strike in Los Angeles.