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Former MLB Pitcher Arrested in Connection to Father-in-Law's Murder, Mother-in-Law's Attempted Murder

Danny Serafini was arrested along with Samantha Scott in Nevada for the 2021 Northern California murder of 70-year-old Robert Gary Spohr and the attempted murder of 68-year-old Wendy Wood.

By Gina Salamone
Police handouts of Danny Serafini and Samantha Scott

A former MLB player who once pitched for teams including the Minnesota Twins was arrested Friday in connection with the 2021 Northern California murder of his father-in-law and the attempted murder of his mother-in-law.

Danny Serafini, 49, was arrested along with Samantha Scott, 33, in Nevada for the murder of 70-year-old Robert Gary Spohr and the attempted murder of 68-year-old Wendy Wood in Homewood, located on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, the Placer County Sheriff's Office in California announced.

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Serafini is the son-in-law of the victims, the Placer County Sheriff's Office confirmed to Oxygen.com Monday. The office also confirmed that both suspects were currently still in correctional facilities in Nevada as of Monday morning, and that more details will be released about a date that pair will be extradited to California later this week.

Friday's arrests follow a two-year investigation by detectives and the district attorney’s office, the sheriff's office said in a Friday statement, which details that Serafini was apprehended in Winnemucca, Nevada, while Scott was taken into custody in Las Vegas.

Danny Serafini smiles as he pitches the Minnesota Twins in 1999

"On June 5, 2021, deputies received a 911 call from a residence in Homewood, a neighborhood in North Lake Tahoe," the Placer County Sheriff's Office stated. "Deputies arrived at the home and found Robert Gary Spohr deceased as a result of a single gunshot wound. Robert’s wife, Wendy, had also been shot but was taken to a nearby hospital where she recovered from her injuries. Unfortunately, Wendy passed away a year later."

Video surveillance captured a hooded male approaching the home of Robert Gary Spohr and Wendy Wood

"During the early stages of the investigation, video surveillance was obtained from the home and along West Lake Boulevard, revealing a hooded male wearing a face-covering and a backpack walking to the residence several hours before the homicide occurred," the sheriff's office continued. "Since then, PCSO detectives have worked tirelessly over the course of the past two years, devoting countless hours of follow up by detectives, along with the DA’s Office."

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The evidence and info gathered during the investigation led them to zero in on Serafini and Scott as the main suspects. "Both suspects are known to each other and to the victims," the sheriff's office stated.

What MLB teams did Danny Serafini play for?

Serafini made his MLB pitching debut in 1996 for the Twins after the team drafted him out of high school in 1992. He later played for the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies, before his MLB career ended in 2007, when he was suspended for 50 games for failing a performance-enhancing drug test, Reuters reported at the time.

Danny Serafini pitches during a pre season baseball game in 1997

Serafini had said at the time that the substances were prescribed to him by a doctor in Japan after he suffered "significant injuries" while playing pro baseball in that country between 2004 and 2007. "I have not taken these or any banned substances since returning to the U.S. and signing with the Colorado Rockies organization in July," he said in 2007, according to the Associated Press.

Serafini is married to one of the daughters of victims Spohr and Wood, Erin, according to The Sacramento Bee.

In February of 2022, the family announced a $150,000 reward for information that led to an arrest and conviction in the murder and attempted murder of Spohr and Wood.

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“For me, everyday living with the uncertainty of who did this and why, has been the most agonizing thing,” another one of the couple's daughters, Adrienne Spohr, told the Bee at the time.

Placer County Sheriff Wayne Woo applauded his detectives and the DA’s office after the arrests, stating Friday, “Today, justice was served. The apprehension of those responsible for the tragic events that unfolded in Homewood, North Lake Tahoe in 2021 stands as a testament to the unwavering dedication of our detectives, law enforcement partners, and the persistence of our pursuit of truth."

"Understand that my team’s commitment to unraveling the most complex of cases prevails, and those who inflict harm upon our community will be held accountable every time," Woo continued.

The Placer County Sheriff's Office also thanked the U.S. Marshal Service Reno Office, U.S. Marshal’s Nevada Violent Offender Task Force in Las Vegas, the Winnemucca Police Department, and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office for their help with the arrests.