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Senseless Acts of a Selfish Man

Commentary on the recent murder-suicide tragedy.


by S.E. Shepherd
July 15, 2002

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Senseless Acts of a Selfish Man_S.E. Shepherd-Commentary on the recent murder-suicide tragedy. When I first heard that John Scherer had killed himself and his daughter, I was saddened. But a part of me, the angry part of me couldn’t help but think, “I’m glad the bastard’s dead.”

John Scherer was a selfish man. I did not know him personally, and I don’t know the full story as to why he murdered his wife, then took their six-year-old daughter, drove off, and committed murder-suicide by driving his Chevy Blazer head on into a semi. But I do know he acted selfishly and without thought to anyone but himself.

From the initial reports, John Scherer was on a self-destructive path long ago. His wife divorced him because of his drinking problems and because he had a gambling habit. Police reports show that Scherer had a history of DUIs, and a record that made him ineligible for a driver’s license in Illinois until the year 2011.

I know desperate people act in desperate ways; and from what has been said John Scherer was desperate. Only a year ago he had gotten divorced from his wife, Sheri. Sheri won custody of their daughter, Rachel, and John moved into an apartment. He lost his job, and by July 1st, he had to leave his apartment. Neighbors said he had a sale of all his possessions, but seemed surprisingly upbeat about the situation. This should always be a warning sign that something is about to go wrong.

Somewhere between Tuesday night, July 9th, and Wednesday morning, John Scherer came to his ex-wife’s home and allegedly murdered his wife, police investigators believe, maybe in view of their daughter. He then took his daughter and fled.

It can be argued, but not proven, that this was John Scherer’s plan. Perhaps it was his resolve, a plan he hatched to “get his life back together.” Had the story ended with Scherer trying to avoid capture, then finally giving up and handing himself over to the authorities, sparring the life of his daughter, it would have been a tragic, unfortunate event. Murder is always wrong, and I do not wish to make light of Sheri Fay Scherer’s death, but had John Scherer, in a fit of unclear thinking, murdered just his wife, one could almost feel sympathy for him.

Instead, John Scherer, feeling the walls close in on him, decided to act selfishly again, killing himself and his daughter, and endangering the life of an unwitting truck driver. John Scherer had destroyed his family in the space of 24 hours.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of the Scherer family. The death of Sheri Fay Scherer is sad, the death of six-year-old Rachel Scherer is heart breaking, especially when it comes from a man she trusted, a man she called, “Daddy.” My sympathy even goes out to a truck driver, who though not responsible for the accident, still has to live with the nightmare where two people were killed, and he walked away.

But it is hard for me to muster up much sympathy for a man who chose to vent out his personal hurts on his own family and destroy them. John Scherer was a troubled man in need of help. But for Scherer to subject his own daughter to that much trauma is almost unforgivable. Because he could only think of himself, John Scherer terminated three lives, and scarred another.

May God have mercy on all their souls.

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