Accused of stealing Apple (AAPL) products from the late Steve Jobs' home, a former San Jose State football player at the center of an international media frenzy has hired an ex-prosecutor-turned defense attorney to represent him.
San Jose-based attorney James Kellenberger, who is no stranger to high-profile cases, declined to comment when reached by this newspaper Friday, saying his policy is to not discuss his clients or their legal troubles.
Kellenberger appears to face an uphill challenge. Police say his client, 35-year-old Kariem McFarlin, has already confessed to breaking into Jobs' Palo Alto home on July 17 and stealing a treasure-trove of goodies ranging from iPads to jewelry to kitchen blenders. He's also allegedly written a one-page letter of apology to Jobs' widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, after being arrested Aug. 2 in Alameda.
The case resumes with a hearing Monday at 9 a.m. in the Palo Alto branch of Santa Clara County Superior Court, where McFarlin could enter a plea. The Alameda resident remains in jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Kellenberger, a former Half Moon Bay planning commission chair, boasts of having a 65 percent trial success rate on his web site, saying that's three times better than the average.
In 2005, his client, 16-year-old Neil Richardson, of Santa Clara, admitted to murdering his bully older brother with a kitchen knife.
In 2003, Kellenberger was the attorney for San Jose resident Edward Crutchfield, who pleaded no contest and was sentenced to six months in jail for harassing an Iraqi family.
In 1998, he represented the city of San Jose's top trial attorney, Ralph Greene, when a jury convicted the official of hit-and-run driving.
Before hiring Kellenberger, McFarlin was represented by the public defender's office at his first court hearing on Aug. 7.
Since Jobs died Oct. 5, his Waverley Street home has been a popular destination for Silicon Valley tourists and locals alike. But McFarlin told detectives he thought the home, which was being remodeled, was just an easy target to burglarize and he didn't realize whose house it was until he got inside.
McFarlin has told detectives he was desperate and lived in cars before burglarizing four homes in San Francisco, then the Jobs residence, police said.
McFarlin tried selling some of the lavish Tiffany & Co. jewelry he allegedly stole and gave iPads from the house to his daughter and to his friend, Kenneth Kahn, known locally as Kenny the Clown for his popular clown act.
Contact Mike Rosenberg at 408-920-5705. Follow him at twitter.com/rosenberg17.