Scarbers claim evidence missing in case against them

FRESNO, Calif.

"Based upon what I've read so far, there's a lot of smoke here, but I haven't seen any flame," said Charles Magill, who represents Gail Scarber and also her son, Spencer.

Gail and Kyle Scarber stand accused of helping their son escape to Mexico to avoid a rape conviction, but Wednesday they proclaimed their innocence.

The Scarbers and Gail's daughter, /*Crystal Reynoso*/, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to conspiracy charges in an alleged plot to get /*Spencer Scarber*/ out of the country.

The case against the Scarbers hinges a lot on timing and border crossings. Attorneys have seen evidence a Scarber family car crossed the border into Mexico, but they say there's no evidence proving any family members were in it.

Spencer Scarber's return from Mexico in February is well documented. Sheriff's investigators say they tracked him down after police in Acapulco picked him up under a false identity. But how he got there is more of a mystery. He disappeared on Dec. 12, the same day he was supposed to testify in the rape case against him. His father, an assistant chief with the California Highway Patrol, reported it. He showed sheriff's deputies an apparent blood stain on their Squaw Valley driveway and gave details about when he last saw his son -- details he maintains are true.

"He saw Spencer at 1:30 a.m.," said Kyle Scarber's attorney, Marshall Hodgkins. "And when he saw Spencer, they were getting ready to go to bed."

Investigators believe that's impossible and Scarber is charged with filing a false police report. They say there's evidence a family car drove into Mexico before 3:30 a.m., with Gail Scarber and Crystal Reynoso walking back into the U.S. 80 minutes later. But family attorneys say there's no photograph of anyone crossing the border and in 800 pages of evidence, there's no photograph of anyone crossing back.

"Did they say that they never went to Mexico and therefore never came back?" an Action News reporter asked Scarber family attorney /*Charles Magill*/.

"I've not discussed that with them, whether they ever went to Mexico or not," Magill said. "That would be relatively irrelevant."

"On Dec. 12?" the reporter asked.

"My understanding is they're denying the allegations against them and that means it's a full denial," Magill said. "We believe the sheriff's case is just smoke and mirrors."

ABC30 legal analyst /*Tony Capozzi*/ says the facts should become much clearer after a preliminary hearing.

"The evidence will come out then and then we'll see whether or not there's smoke and mirrors or whether or not there is actual evidence," Capozzi said.

That preliminary hearing won't happen until at least May.

Meanwhile, Spencer Scarber is due to be sentenced for his rape conviction next week, although his new attorneys -- who also represent his mother and sister -- want to delay the sentencing.

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