A judge reduced bail to $250,000 today on the woman accused of setting off the bar fight that resulted in the New Year's Eve shooting deaths of two people in Old Sacramento.
Bail had been set at $1 million on Amber Scholz, 36. Her attorney, Jason Lawley, had asked Sacramento Superior Court Judge John P. Winn to drop it to the $50,000 schedule that holds for most assault with a deadly weapon cases.
Deputy District Attorney Anthony Ortiz opposed the reduction. He said it was Scholz' actions that prompted her husband to hit a man with a beer bottle in the Sports Corner Cafe bar fight that brought a friend of their's into the melee. It is the friend, Carlito Montoya, 22, who is charged with then shooting and killing Daniel Ferrier, 36, and Gabriel Cordova, 35.
Winn agreed with Lawley that the regular $50,000 schedule for assault with a deadly weapon was a significant argument to lower bail on the 36-year-old Scholz, who has been charged under an aiding and abetting theory. But the judge said that public safety concerns required him to keep her bail elevated to what is still five times the normal amount.
"Your client knew or should have known that initiating this incident could result in tragic consequences, and that's exactly what occurred," Winn told Lawley.
The defense lawyer described Scholz as the mother of three, the grandmother of one and a regular, seasonal employee of the state Franchise Tax Board who also is a certified nursing assistant.
Police and prosecutors say Cordova accidentally bumped into Scholz in the bar and spilled beer on her. The incident took place while thousands of people crowded Old Sacramento in between the New Year's Eve 9 p.m. and midnight firework shows. Authorities cancelled the second show after the bar shooting.
A videotape in the bar showed Scholz talking to her husband, Charles Wesley Fowler-Scholz, 34, after the bump and spill, both Lawley and Ortiz said in court today in their description of the footage.
Fowler-Scholz then walked over to Cordova and hit him with a beer bottle, police and prosecutors say. When Ferrier, a bar security employee, stepped in to break up the fight, investigators say Montoya walked up and shot him first, then Cordova, Ortiz said. Another bar security employee and Cordova's wife also were wounded in the shooting.
Lawley said that Amber Scholz's "involvement in this case cuts off at the fight."
Ortiz said when Scholz complained to her husband, he asked her, "What do you want me to do about it?"
"Go get him," she replied, according to Ortiz.
The prosecution earlier this week added gang allegations to the case, saying that Fowler-Scholz and Montoya are members of the Nortenos. Ortiz said Scholz was well aware of her husband's gang mindset.
"She's the reason why Mr. Cordova and Mr. Ferrier are dead," Ortiz argued.
Bail on Fowler-Scholz remains at $1 million. Montoya, who faces a possible death penatly if he is convicted, is being held without bail.