"Go get him."
A prosecutor said the order came from the wife to her husband, whom she implored to do something about a guy in a bar who had spilled beer on her.
Within minutes, two people were dead and two others wounded in the 9:40 p.m. New Year's Eve shooting in Old Sacramento that forced authorities to close down a fireworks show that had been scheduled for midnight.
On Friday, the wife asked a judge to reduce her bail, which he did, in a hearing that provided additional background on two key figures in the shooting and more critical details in the fatal exchange.
Deputy District Attorney Anthony Ortiz argued against the bail reduction for Amber Olivia Scholz, 36, who he said sparked the confrontation that led to the shooting deaths of Daniel Ferrier, 36, and Gabriel Cordova, 35.
Scholz "essentially unleashed two violent predators" inside the Sports Corner Cafe at Second and K streets after Cordova accidentally bumped into her and splashed some beer on her sweat shirt, Ortiz said.
"Ms. Scholz then went to her husband whom she knows to be a Norteño gang member, tattooed entirely throughout his body with Norteño tattoos," Ortiz said. "He asked her, 'What do you want me to do about it?' And she said, 'Go get him.' "
Her husband, Charles Wesley Fowler-Scholz, 36, and Carlito Montoya, 22, whom the DA described as the co-defendant's "Norteño gangster friend," walked over to Cordova. "At that point, Ms. Scholz is screaming over as Mr. Cordova is surrounded," Ortiz said. While she cursed and yelled and even pushed a third man into the fray, her husband smashed Cordova in the face with a beer bottle, according to Ortiz.
Authorities say Montoya shot and killed Ferrier when the bar security employee, an Iraq War veteran, tried to break up the fight. Montoya then turned and shot Cordova to death on the floor, authorities said. Cordova's wife and another bar employee were injured in the shooting.
"Something that happens every day – people bump into each other," Ortiz said, in arguing against Scholz's bail reduction. "There's a polite 'excuse me,' and people go on with their lives. But not Ms. Fowler-Scholz. She is the reason why Mr. Cordova and Mr. Ferrier are dead."
Scholz has been charged with aiding and abetting the assault on Cordova. Her bail had been $1 million. Her attorney, Jason Lawley, asked Sacramento Superior Court Judge John P. Winn to reduce it because normal bail on the charge is $50,000.
"It is not alleged she had anything else to do with this case, or is involved in any way with the shooting," Lawley said. "I would argue her involvement in this case cuts off at the fight."
Both Lawley and Ortiz described the shooting scene based on video from a security camera. Lawley said Ortiz "grossly overstates" Scholz's actions, that five minutes elapsed from when she had beer spilled on her to when her husband belted Cordova.
Winn reduced Scholz's bail to $250,000, but said she "knew or should have known that initiating this incident could result in tragic consequences, and that's exactly what occurred in this case."
In the 20-minute hearing, Lawley described his client as a seasonal employee at the state Franchise Tax Board since 2004. Scholz also is a certified nursing assistant, Lawley said, as well as a mother of three and the grandmother of one.
Scholz's record shows a 1999 misdemeanor conviction for being an accessory to a robbery and a shooting, according to online Sacramento County court records.
Ortiz said in court that the 1999 case took place right after her husband got out of prison for robbery. The prosecutor said Scholz, whose last name then was Dalby, "was with her husband again and some of his Norteño friends" who tried to rob a coffee shop.
When the four of them drove off – with Scholz at the wheel – somebody inside their car fired a gun at the business, Ortiz said. Police pulled the car over. Scholz, her husband and two others were convicted of assorted charges.
Ortiz said Scholz twice reported to law enforcement her husband's "propensity for violence." She told authorities Fowler-Scholz once pulled a gun on her and "chased her down to the point where she had to hide," and threatened to kill her, Ortiz said.
Fowler-Scholz is charged with assault with a deadly weapon and is facing a life term under the state's "three-strikes" law. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Montoya, who is being held without bail, has been charged with special-circumstance multiple murder that could bring him the death penalty if he is convicted, although authorities have not decided yet whether to seek it.