Jeremy Stoner case: Family in court for 1st time with 1987 Vallejo cold case murder suspect

Fred Cain III was arrested last week after his DNA was linked to the 1987 murder and abduction of then 6-year-old Jeremy Stoner.

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Friday, September 29, 2023
Victim's family in court with 1987 Vallejo cold case murder suspect
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The family of Jeremy Stoner was in court Thursday as Fred Cain III, the suspected killer of then 6-year-old boy, made his first court appearance.

SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The suspected killer in a cold case dating back to 1987 made his first appearance in court in Solano County on Thursday. The family of then 6-year-old Jeremy Stoner was in the court room as the alleged suspect Fred Cain III was brought in.

"This is hard for me," says Karen Tabler after seeing Cain, the man accused of killing her son in 1987.

Instead of entering a plea, Cain was assigned a public defender. The hearing to continues in two weeks, to allow the defense time to review the evidence.

"I don't know if it is relief. Not feeling good, that's for sure," said Tabler, adding that it was hard to be in the same room with Cain.

Table told ABC7 News before the hearing that this moment is bittersweet, and that she came to court seeking justice for her son. After the hearing, the family was taken to meet with the Solano County District Attorney's office.

EXCLUSIVE: Suspected child killer in 1987 Vallejo cold case arrested. 'I hope he rots in Hell'

Fred Cain III, suspected of killing 6-year-old Jeremy Stoner in Vallejo back in 1987, is now in jail after being arrested in Oregon.

"Well, I don't think you ever get closure. I have been around a long time, I have never seen families get true closure. But I feel like it will be some comfort, that someone will be held responsible," said Paul Sequeira, the Chief Deputy District Attorney for Solano County.

In 1987, 6-year-old Jeremy Stoner was abducted outside of his Vallejo home. Shawn Melton was later arrested and charged with the murder. But two jury trials ended with no verdict. The judge dismissed the case.

But the case was recently reopened because of new DNA evidence, which prosecutors say linked Stoner's murder to Cain, who was extradited from Oregon.

"They started looking into this case, because it never really had been solved. The person that was put on trial, there was no verdict reached. Thought it was better to look into this case again," explained Sequeira.

RELATED: New arrest in decades-old murder of 6-year-old boy from Vallejo

Shawn Melton died in 2000, but was exonerated by the DNA evidence.

Cain is charged with murder with special circumstances with respect to kidnapping, sodomy and a lewd act on a child. Sequeira admits challenges remain.

"Witness memories fade. You know, we hope we can still put together all the physical evidence. Hopefully, all the witnesses are there," said Sequeira. "We have done our due diligence and we believe will be able to proceed."

Cain is also a suspect in the 1987 fatal stabbing of 9-year-old Eric Coy in Martinez. He will be back in court in October.

VIDEO: Suspect in 1987 killing of Vallejo boy named person of interest in Martinez child's murder

Fred Cain III, the suspect in 1987 killing of Vallejo boy is now a person of interest in Martinez cold case murder of 9-year-old Eric Coy.
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