Two Southern California men are facing 11 years in state prison after pleading no contest Monday to killing a Foster City man for a sizeable inheritance, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.
Prosecutors say that on Dec. 16, 2011, 69-year-old San Bernadino resident Willie Venable let himself into Klaus Gachter's Foster City home and beat him to death while the 71-year-old Gachter was cooking dinner.
The killing was allegedly at the behest of Venable's nephew, David Mitchell, 36, who stood to inherit about $750,000 from Gachter, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
"The young guy was going to get the money, being the heir to the estate," Wagstaffe said. "He just couldn't wait until Mr. Gachter passed away. He wanted the money now."
Mitchell was like a godson to Gachter, Wagstaffe said, having met the victim though Mitchell's mother and, at one point, the younger man even lived with his would-be benefactor.
The two suspects were initially charged with murder for financial gain, which carries a potential sentence of life in prison without parole, but they pleaded to charges of voluntary manslaughter, according to Wagstaffe.
The case centered on DNA evidence that belonged to Venable found on a house key that prosecutors say he used to let himself into Gachter's home.
The key was allegedly provided by Mitchell, who was in Southern California at the time of the killing, Wagstaffe said.
The suspects have been held without bail since their arrest in November 2016 and are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 6, 2020. Neither of the suspect's lawyers immediately returned a call for comment.