Accused arsonist may be out on the streets today

Bail could be granted today to the San Gregorio man accused of burning down his home and killing his two young sons at a hearing in which a loyal circle of the man’s friends are expected to show their unfailing support.

Charles Schuttloffel, 36, is charged with arson and murder in the May 4, 2004, fire that killed his two sons, Charles Jr., 3, and William, 2, and destroyed his home in a remote area on Seaside School Road.

Schuttloffel called 911 and was injured in the fire. Authorities said he rushed back into the house to try to save the two boys. Schuttloffel also threatened to kill himself as the house burned.

A judge is scheduled to consider granting bail to Schuttloffel today, who is currently being held without bail. Prosecutors are expected to contend that the charges are too serious to allow bail.

“Anytime you have a special-circumstances case, the court can say that the evidence is sufficient enough to say no bail, and a double murder certainly qualifies as a special-circumstance case,” said Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

While prosecutors call him a murderer, friends and family have consistently traveled to court hearings from the Half Moon Bay area to rally behind the man they have known for a lifetime.

“I’ve lost track of how many people I’ve run into who are pulling for him,” said Shannon Holsman, a family friend.

Before his arrest on March 13 — nearly three years after the incident — Schuttloffel worked as a commercial fisherman. He and his family are part of a close-knit community in San Gregorio.

“Because we all show up and rally behind him, the judge sees that,” said Scott Menary, who plans to be at the courthouse today. “If that’s what it takes to get a fair trial, so be it.”

bfoley@examiner.com

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