The 20-year-old man arrested in connection with the pocketknife stabbing death of 51-year-old Robert Earl Vickney Jr. at a weekend party in Rocklin may have been acting in self-defense, authorities said Tuesday.
Zachary Raymond Kachmar, 20, was released Tuesday night from Placer County jail hours after the Placer County district attorney released a statement indicating that he may have been acting "without criminal intent" at a party where Vickney was stabbed.
Shortly after Kachmar was released, his mother, Natalie Kachmar, took to Facebook and expressed thanks that her son was free, and called the incident a "tragic accident."
"I'm overwhelmed with joy that they have released my beautiful loving kind son," Natalie Kachmar wrote. "Thank you so much for all the love and support. My heart goes out to the Vickney family for this tragic accident."
A call to a cellphone number registered to Natalie Kachmar was answered by a man who referred The Bee to Thomas Leupp, a criminal defense attorney in Auburn. Leupp did not return calls to his office or his residence Tuesday night.
The arraignment for Kachmar was continued until July 29 while the investigation into the case continues. Vickney was stabbed to death Saturday during a backyard party at his home in the 6200 block of Swan Court.
The preliminary police investigation indicates that Vickney and Kachmar were arguing over a broken drinking glass shortly before the stabbing occurred, said Lt. Lon Milka of the Rocklin Police Department. Police believe the argument escalated from there.
Upon hearing the news of his death, friends and neighbors of Vickney described the Rocklin-area junior football coach as a man with a "big heart" and a "huge smile."
Jim Kammerer, a Rocklin man who lived next to Vickney for six years, described his former neighbor as "quick to laugh," a man who always made a point of visiting and shooting the breeze.
"He would talk my wife's ear off for an hour at the gym about nothing," Kammerer said.
John Brunet, who coached the Rocklin Junior Thunder football team to an undefeated season with Vickney in 2005, described his longtime friend as generous. "Bob would give you the shirt off his back," Brunet said. "That's the kind of guy he was."
Brunet, who was at the party 30 minutes before the stabbing occurred, said the gathering was fairly low-key.
Vickney was a good father and a dedicated friend willing to help others in need, Brunet said.
"I don't know anybody who didn't like the guy," he said.
Call The Bee's Benjamin Mullin, (916) 321-1034.