Man has callous attitude after DUI accident

June 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The man charged with murder and drunk driving in an incident that killed a Novato girl last week, appeared in court on Tuesday and made a gesture that shocked everyone.

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In Marin County, there was a day of sadness and anger. The sad part took place at a still-growing memorial for 9-year-old Melody Osheroff, who died when a motorcycle ran her over last week. The anger showed in Superior Court, when the man accused of killing her by driving drunk, made his first appearance and let his middle finger do the talking.

"It demonstrates a callous attitude toward the process and demonstrates a lack of remorse about what he has done, which I don't think speaks well for him," said Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian.

Edward Schaefer left the hospital on Monday. He faces charges of second degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, and mayhem. He has six prior convictions for driving under the influence and a public defender for this case.

"There will be a plea of not guilty," said Schaefer's attorney Michael Schrottner.

"Based on?" asked ABC7's Wayne Freedman.

"Based on the fact that...that will be the plea next Friday," said Schrottner.

"It has been a devastating and tragic day for our community," said Melody's elementary school principal Mary Pritchard.

In Novato, no one remembers an accident having this much effect. Last week, there was a march in memory of Melody, who liked to read and play the cello. Her father, who was also hit, remains hospitalized in critical condition and has lost a leg.

At the intersection on Tuesday, a memorial continued to grow. Since last week, an estimated more than 1,000 people have visited the memorial. Tuesday they averaged one every 10 minutes.

"It's such a waste. It didn't have to happen," said resident Reginald Lyles.

And now, there is a movement to keep such accidents from happening, again. Among others, a city councilwoman wants a new crosswalk with less of a blind view.

"If they had been able to cross on the other side of the street, on the east side of the street, they might have had an opportunity to step out of the way," said Councilwoman Carole Dillon-Knutson.

Schaefer will appear again in court on June 19th. It's worth noting that as he made the gesture, his lawyer was arguing against cameras in the court.

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