PITTSBURG -- At first, it appeared to be a dramatic tale of self-defense: A man confronted an armed burglar he found in his apartment Tuesday morning, wrestled with him and killed him with a knife.
But in a bizarre twist, police on Wednesday revealed it wasn't a random burglary at all. Instead, they said, a cheating wife and her lover staged the break-in to intimidate her estranged husband into moving out.
Now, the wife, her lover and two accomplices are behind bars on suspicion of murder. A 54-year-old local transient -- the uncle of the woman's boyfriend -- is dead.
Pittsburg Police Lt. Ron Raman, said they believe Charmaine Leon Guerrero Taijeron, 28, was having an affair with Matt Terrell Parker, 22.
When her husband found out, the two decided to split up, and he was supposed to move out of the apartment, Raman said.
But Taijeron believed her husband "was not going to move out," Raman said. So Taijeron and Parker cooked up a fake home-invasion robbery to scare her husband into leaving their home at the Villa Serena Apartments on East Leland Lane, police said.
The husband, who was not identified by police, told investigators he was home alone at 10:20 a.m. Tuesday. When he heard what he thought was someone trying to break in through the front door, he ran to the back of the apartment to get a gun.
When he returned, he encountered the would-be burglar, identified as Robert Earl Lindsey, holding what the husband believed was a gun, though it turned out to be a toy.
The two men struggled, the husband told police, and both men dropped their weapons. But the husband grabbed a knife and, as the two continued to struggle, he stabbed Lindsey in the back, police said.
The husband wasn't arrested and won't face charges, Raman said.
Pittsburg police say Lindsey, 54, who died at the scene, was a transient with an "extensive" criminal history of multiple burglaries.
Court records on Lindsey were not available Wednesday.
Two other men, whom police said were Jimmy Watkins Salgado, 23, and Charles Edward Parker, 21, ran away but were captured nearby a short time later.
Salgado, Taijeron and the Parker brothers are considered participants in a felony that led to a death, making them eligible for murder charges, Raman said. They are each being held on $1 million bail.
Police believe that they conspired for at least two weeks to pull off the fake burglary.
Taijeron even gave Charles Parker, Salgado and Lindsey keys to the apartment, police said, and told them her husband was growing marijuana there. Police said the marijuana was being grown legally.
In a jailhouse interview Wednesday, Charles Parker denied that he has anything to do with a burglary plot. Instead, he said, he agreed to help Lindsey, who is his uncle, steal marijuana.
But when they entered the house, Parker said, the husband already had his gun drawn.
"All I know is that when (Lindsey) opened the door, (he) was already was waiting for him," Parker said. "I don't know when he heard him or how it came about, but he was ready with a gun."
Parker said he was not aware of whether his brother was having an affair with Taijeron, but his brother told him that he could "score" some weed and "help out her situation" at the same time.
When asked how well he knew Taijeron, Parker said he hardly knew her.
"My motivation really was only to get me some weed," he said. "I never talked to (her) face-to-face."
Staff writer Katie Nelson contributed to this report. Contact Daniel M. Jimenez at email@example.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/DMJreports. Contact Rick Hurd at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.