SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) – A San Quentin State Prison inmate pleaded guilty Thursday to fatally stabbing another inmate who was convicted of killing a Novato girl with his motorcycle in a crosswalk in 2009.

Frank Souza, 33, pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of Edward John Schaefer in the Badger Section exercise yard of the prison on July 26, 2010, Marin County Deputy District Attorney A.J. Brady said.

Souza also admitted the special circumstance of lying in wait, Brady said. Souza agreed to plead guilty to avoid the potential of the death penalty for murder while lying in wait. He will be sentenced to life without parole on April 4, Brady said.

Souza stabbed Edward John Schaefer, 44, seven times with a homemade weapon.

He was indicted in November 2010 on the first-degree murder charge and on two special circumstances—lying in wait and having a prior first-degree murder conviction—that make him eligible for the death penalty.

Schaefer was stabbed two weeks after he started serving 24 years to life for second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

His motorcycle struck and killed 9-year-old Melody Osheroff and maimed her father Aaron Osheroff, now 43, in a Novato crosswalk on May 27, 2009.

Souza was serving 60 years to life for the first-degree murder of a homeless man in Santa Clara County. He allegedly killed Schaefer to avenge Osheroff’s death.

Souza’s defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach said Friday’s plea deal could have been reached nine months ago if the district attorney had not sought the death penalty.

Given the high cost of prosecuting and defending a death penalty case, and the fact that Souza was “never going to be released from prison” anyway, Schwartzbach called the death penalty case a waste of time.

“The district attorney’s decision to seek death resulted in the unnecessary expenditure of an enormous amount of time, money and resources,” Schwartzbach said. “This deal could have been arrived at a long time ago if the DA had not sought death.”

Schwartzbach also said that Schaefer, who had multiple DUI convictions at the time that he struck and killed Melody Osheroff, should have been in protective custody at San Quentin and not in the general prison population.

“He was despised,” Schwartzbach said. “If you victimize a child, you’re a target.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (7)
  1. susie says:

    why do we keep these idiots alive? Didn’t California vote for the death penelty? DO IT!

  2. Michael Greenlee says:

    People who commit murder in prison should be put to death. There should be a fast track so they don’t have endless appeals and waste taxpayer dollars, and be executed asap.

  3. Edw. Trazas says:

    This person –whatever he purports to be– has negotiated a lifetime meal ticket for hisself. [] Our criminal laws which are supposed to punish these low lifes instead allows them endless appeals at citizens expense. Besides being a disgrace to normal humanity-His being is an afront & insult to people who abide by the law. I don’t hate him or his ilk–i am disgusted that our society warehouses these people. The premise that these people are salvageable in the prisons who house them is patently untrue. I never knew a con who miraculously changed after subjection to those man made zoos we call prisons.

  4. Deeply Concerned says:

    a lot of these prisons and jails that prisoners are being sent to are made to be too comfortable and too accommodating. Prisoners are being entertained rather than being reformed. They are entitled to programs such as arts & crafts, music, television, occasional live performances, and leisure sports. . .its simply not right!!!! They committed a crime! They deserve to rot!

    This man should have never had the materials to make a homemade weapon to kill the other inmate.

  5. Robert Bartlett says:

    In the event this guy were to ever get released from prison, which he won`t, how in the hell could he ever become an accepted member of society with his neck and forehead covered with tats? He would immediately be an outcast from the get go! I can not even imagine doing this to myself when the world has so much to offer to those who want it! Life in prison what a complete waste of life, not to mention the victims these guys destroyed.

  6. Robert says:

    On the positive side, he got rid of a child killer. The guy he killed had no concern for human life only his ability to drink and drive. It wasn’t his first DUI, it was his ninth or tenth DUI conviction which demonstrates his lack of concern for others, especially the 9 year old girl.

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