The truth is still sinking in: two young men with friends and family in Castro Valley stand accused of the murdering and burning a woman they knew in the sanctity of her own home.
Since Friday, when , as suspects in the strangling of Barbara Latiolais, 58, Patch readers have voiced shock and horror over the circumstances of the crime and the characters of the suspects.
Here's a sampling of comments.
"Just goes to show you never really know people and what they are capable of. Why didn't they ask themselves is $1,600 and some guns worth going to jail forever? They were that intent on getting the goods that they would . . . kill a person? Some thieves would give up and try again some other time when no one is around. That's what is so disturbing about this. They decided to take their chances and now look at them . . . Very saddening for all involved."
"This crime is almost unbelieveable . . . can you imagine the thinking process involved in these two creeps . . . kill someone, someone you know, set the house on fire, then steal the car, and drive it to school."
"What if this were your son? . . . This is a terrible thing - a horrible thing. Please know I'm not condoning or excusing anything or anyone, and I am also grieving and praying for Ms. Latiolais, Mr. Rice and the entire family, friends and community. It's just really really sad."
"I am completely shocked. Birdsall and I were best friends. And he was such a great guy and wouldn't do any thing to harm anyone. I never would have thought he would do something like this unless on drugs or unless someone was holding a gun to his head."
"I see . . . comments about how good these boys were and how they were sweet and all that. But if you were a relative of the victim would you feel the same? Because of the senseless act of violence that these two committed me and my son will never have the chance to know this loving woman who is my fiance's great aunt. . . . Look at if from the victims families point of view."
"Barbara was my aunt, the youngest of five children of my grandparents. She was a wonderful and kind soul who loved music and life. To die so violently at the hands of two twisted and deviant children is made all the more painful when hearing the apologias for them in the community. When I hear the pleas for understanding that these were 'two good boys' I begin to get how something like this can happen. Enabling and apologizing for spoiled killers in your community won't bring my auntie back. May God forgive you because I can't."