A former Major League Baseball player was arrested Friday following a two-year investigation into the murder of his father-in-law and attempted murder of his mother-in-law, authorities in Northern California said.
Ex-Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs pitcher Daniel Joseph Serafini, 49, and Samantha Scott, 33, are awaiting extradition to Placer County, California, from Nevada after they were arrested in connection with the shootings of 70-year-old Robert Gary Spohr and 68-year-old Wendy Wood in June 2021 in their North Lake Tahoe home, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said. Spohr was pronounced dead at the scene from a single gunshot wound, and Wood was taken to a hospital with injuries.
Wendy Wood and her husband, Robert Gary Spohr, were found shot in June 2021.
The long-unsolved shootings had stunned the community. Video footage released by authorities showed a man wearing a dark hoodie and mask and carrying a backpack walking to the residence several hours beforehand, but in spite of pleas for information and a $150,000 reward, no suspect was named until last week.
Wood died by suicide a year after the shooting, and her daughter Adrienne Spohr said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle that her mother had suffered emotionally after the death of her husband.
“She missed my dad like crazy. She was just stunned. It was like the killer killed her too,” Adrienne Spohr told the Chronicle. “When we bring that person to justice, I certainly hope they are held accountable for both deaths. They are very much responsible for both.”
At the time, Adrienne Spohr told the Chronicle that she believed the killer “directly” knew her parents.
Video released by authorities show the suspected killer running from the home in North Lake Tahoe.
After Serafini’s and Scott’s arrests, Adrienne Spohr told the Reno Gazette Journal in a statement that Scott is a close friend her sister, Erin Spohr, who is Serafini’s wife.
“When I learned on October 20th that my sister’s husband Daniel Serafini and sister’s close friend Samantha Scott were arrested for the shooting of my parents, I was shaken to my core,” she said. “This was a heinous, calculated crime. My parents had been incredibly generous to Daniel Serafini and Erin Spohr throughout their marriage.”
She told the Journal that she cannot comment on any involvement her sister may have had in the shooting.
Investigators identified the former major league player’s temporary residence, employer and vehicle, stating that he was working and living part-time in Winnemucca, Nevada, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said.
Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Marshals, conducted a tactical operation to apprehend Serafini, and he was taken into custody in Reno on charges of murder, attempted murder and child abuse/endangerment, the sheriff’s office said. He is being held in Humboldt County Detention Center without bail, and Clark County, Nevada, inmate records show Scott is being held as a “fugitive from another state.”
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office told HuffPost in an email on Monday that it does not have a date set for the pair’s extradition to California.
Serafini, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, played for several teams in the MLB from 1996 to 2007, when he was suspended following a failed performance-enhancing drug test.
In a statement to ESPN at the time, Serafini blamed his suspension on drugs he claimed were prescribed to him by a doctor.
“While trying to accelerate the healing process of these injuries, I took substances that were prescribed for me by a doctor in Japan,” Serafini said in the statement. “What I did not know at the time was that these substances would cause me to test positive once I returned to the U.S.”
Danny Serafini on Spike TV's "Bar Rescue" reality show.
After retiring from the MLB in 2007, Serafini opened The Bullpen Bar in Sparks, Nevada, with his wife, which appeared in an episode of “Bar Rescue” in 2015.
In the episode, Erin Spohr says her husband’s personality changed as he went into $300,000 in debt from the bar and risked losing his parents’ home.
The bar was rebranded as the Oak Tavern as part of the reality show, and in a later episode updating viewers on the the state of the bar, Serafini says his sales have been up since the original show aired.
Despite what Serafini said on TV, though, an account belonging to the Oak Tavern tweeted in 2016 that the show “screwed the pooch big time.”
According to Yelp, the bar is now permanently closed after receiving mixed reviews.
Before the allegations against her husband were announced, Erin Spohr told the San Francisco Chronicle in July that the couple had sold the business “a long time ago” and that since then Serafini had been working in Reno in underground mining.
“I miss my parents tremendously, and I wish they could see my kids [sons, ages 2 and 5] grow up,” Erin Spohr told the Chronicle.