MARTINEZ (CBS SF) — A homeless man accused of fatally stabbing a woman who caught him dumpster diving behind a Concord strip mall last summer was ordered Wednesday morning in a Martinez courtroom to stand trial on murder charges.
Rickie Lee Keefer, 59, allegedly stabbed Debbie Shandrew around 6:15 a.m. on Aug. 22. Her body was found later that day near a dumpster behind a shopping center in the 2700 block of Clayton Road, located near the Concord BART station.
Investigators collected video evidence from the security cameras at nearby businesses and identified a brown or gold Hyundai Santa Fe that had been at the crime scene, as well as a suspect who had been wearing a dark colored hoodie, Detective Sgt. Shawn Phalen said under direct examination by Deputy District Attorney Kabu Adodoadji at Wednesday’s hearing.
The following day, a vehicle matching that description was found parked at a Safeway on Willow Pass Road with Keefer inside, sleeping.
Police towed the car to the Concord Police Department, executed a search warrant and found a pair of blue jeans inside with red stains believed to be blood. They also found two folding knives and two face masks.
DNA evidence on that evidence also linked Keefer to the crime scene, according to Phalen.
Under cross examination by defense attorney Laurie Mont from the public defender’s office, Phalen admitted that the video evidence obtained does not, necessarily, clearly depict Keefer.
“You can’t see the hair of that individual?” Mont asked.
“No,” Phalen answered.
“You can’t see the face of that individual?” Mont asked.
“No,” Phalen said.
She argued that as a homeless man who frequently obtained clothing and other items from dumpsters, the clothing obtained by searching his vehicle may not have been his — and he may not have been wearing them at the time of Shandrew’s death.
Moreover, the video evidence from the crime scene may depict an entirely different day from the one on which Shandrew was killed, according to Mont.
Regardless, Judge Theresa Canepa ordered Keefer to stand trial for Shandrew’s murder. He returns to court next on May 20.