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Bee file, 2013. Police gather in Old Sacramento after gunfire erupted during the New Year's Eve celebration.

Prosecutors add murder charge in New Year's Eve shooting

Published: Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4B
Last Modified: Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 - 7:23 am

Prosecutors filed a new murder count Thursday against a second defendant in the New Year's Eve bar shooting in Old Sacramento that killed two people.

The additional charge by the District Attorney's Office upgraded the case against Charles Wesley Fowler-Scholz, 34, in the Dec. 31 shooting at Sports Corner Cafe that took the lives of Gabriel Cordova, 35, and Daniel Ferrier, 36.

As they did with the shooting suspect, 22-year-old Carlito Montoya, Sacramento prosecutors filed a special-circumstance allegation of multiple murders against Fowler-Scholz. The allegation could result in the death penalty for the two defendants if they are convicted.

Deputy District Attorney Anthony Ortiz said the DA's Office has not decided whether to pursue capital punishment. He declined to comment further.

According to police and prosecutors, the fatal shootings erupted after Fowler-Scholz's wife, Amber Olivia Scholz, 36, reacted angrily when Cordova accidentally spilled beer on her about 9:40 p.m. on New Year's Eve in the bar at Second and K streets.

Ortiz said at a Feb. 1 bail hearing that Amber Scholz told her husband after the spill to "go get him." Fowler-Scholz, a reputed Norteño gang member, then smashed Cordova in the face with a beer bottle, police and prosecutors said.

While those two wrestled on the floor, authorities say Ferrier, an Iraq War veteran who worked in security for the bar, headed toward the fracas to break it up.

As Ferrier approached, Montoya walked up to him and shot him dead, authorities said. Montoya then turned to Cordova and fatally shot him as well, prosecutors said.

Cordova's wife and another security employee in the bar also were wounded in the shooting.

The shots were fired while Old Sacramento was crowded with people watching New Year's Eve fireworks shows.

Fowler-Scholz, who had previously been accused only of assault with a deadly weapon, was charged with murder under an aiding-and-abetting theory.

His attorney, Daniel A. Nicholson, said the charge doesn't match up with the facts as he sees them.

"In other words, they're going to claim that a bar fight naturally and probably leads to a homicide," Nicholson said. "We believe this was a bar fight and just that. The fact that the co-defendant drew a weapon and started indiscriminately killing people was not something my client was part of."

Nicholson said he has seen a video of the shooting that was filmed from inside the bar. Based on that video, "It's 100 percent certain that only one person was killing people with a gun, and it was not my client," Nicholson said.

Montoya's attorney, Karol Martin Repkow, could not be reached to respond to Nicholson's comments.

Amber Scholz is facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

Call The Bee's Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141. Follow him on Twitter @andyfurillo.

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