Grandson charged with murder
A felony murder charge was filed today against a California man suspected of killing his grandmother in Silver Springs then carrying her body to California and burying her in a flower bed.
Lyon County District Attorney Bob Auer filed charges of felony murder, first degree murder with an elderly enhancement, kidnapping, robbery, obtaining a credit card without the permission of the cardholder, grand larceny of a motor vehicle, grand larceny of jewelry and cigarettes and two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card, against James Christopher Masterson, 22, in the killing of his maternal grandmother Peggy Herlacher, 73.
Herlacher was reported missing on July 24. On Aug. 31, her body was discovered buried in Masterson’s paternal grandfather’s backyard in Riverbank, Calif.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Walker River Justice Court in Yerington today, Masterson allegedly strangled his grandmother either before or after he put her into the trunk of her car and drove her to California where he buried her. When she was found, Herlacher’s hands were bound, according to an investigator.
Masterson had arrived at his grandmother’s Silver Springs home on July 17. Authorities suspect he killed her “on or about July 22,” the complaint states.
“Defendant seized and abducted Peggy Herlacher, confined her in the trunk of her automobile, and carried her away from her home during the commission of a robbery, further inflicting death upon Peggy Herlacher during said kidnapping,” the report states.
The complaint also alleges that Masterson first used his grandmother’s credit card to put gas into her vehicle in Silver Springs. He then allegedly purchased $100 in Starbucks gift cards from the Fernley Starbucks and returned the cards to California Starbucks stores for cash.
On July 25, Masterson was stopped in Sacramento on a driving violation in his grandmother’s car. He was jailed after allegedly being found in possession of her jewelry and credit cards. He was also possessed heroin, according to a criminal complaint filed in Sacramento
He is being held in the Sacramento Jail without bail. He has declined to speak with police.
Lyon County DA Auer said he will immediately start extradition proceedings to bring Masterson back to Nevada to face the murder charge.
Auer has not said whether or not the death penalty will be sought.