Attorney change, plea put off for accused killer of Alyx Herrmann

"We want to let the public know … that she was cared for," said a member of Outrigger Santa Cruz. Dozens of club members were in court Tuesday.

Attorney change, plea put off for accused killer of Alyx Herrmann
An outrigger canoe at the Santa Cruz harbor remains filled with flowers and photographs in honor of Alyx Herrmann. Emilie Raguso/The Berkeley Scanner

The man charged with killing Capitola resident Alyx Herrmann made a brief court appearance Tuesday morning to get a new defense attorney and put off his plea again.

Dozens of Herrmann's teammates from Outrigger Santa Cruz, a paddling and canoe racing nonprofit Herrmann was active in, joined her friends and relatives Tuesday, filling several rows of seats in the courtroom.

Authorities say 54-year-old Theobald (Theo) Lengyel, Herrmann's longtime boyfriend, killed her and left her body in Tilden park in the Berkeley Hills last month.

"We want to let the public know and let him know that she was cared for," said Sabine Dukes, head coach of Outrigger Santa Cruz.

Many members of the club wore their blue and black jerseys Tuesday to show their support for Herrmann and her family.

In court, appearing before Judge Syda Cogliati, attorneys from the Santa Cruz public defender's office declared a conflict in the case, which was then assigned to Mitchell Page of the Page & Dudley law firm.

Page then asked to postpone Lengyel's arraignment until Feb. 8 to allow more time for a defense investigation into the charges. That could include a psychiatric assessment, he said.

Theobald (Theo) Lengyel appears in court Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. Emilie Raguso/TBS

The prosecution agreed to the defense request for more time but noted some qualms.

"We were hoping for a sooner date so that we could start moving this case forward," said Yukiko Orii of the Santa Cruz district attorney's office.

Lengyel was originally scheduled for arraignment Jan. 4 but that hearing was postponed until this week to sort out who would represent him.

That will likely change yet again, Page said after court Tuesday.

He said he had received discovery material from police but had not yet had time to go over it.

"It's too much to have reviewed at this point," Page said.

Down at the Santa Cruz harbor, a canoe remains filled with flowers, notes and photographs in honor of Alyx Herrmann, who was a treasured member of Outrigger Santa Cruz.

The canoe is also decorated with butterflies, an animal Herrmann loved.

Many club members met for coffee after Tuesday's hearing to discuss what happened that morning and remember their friend.

One woman recalled her last time on the water with Herrmann, who was a stroker with Outrigger Santa Cruz, setting the pace for her teammates behind her.

The woman, who had been in a different canoe that day, recalled approaching Herrmann's canoe from behind.

Herrmann sensed the other group gaining on her and wasn't going to be overcome.

"She just turned it on," the woman said, describing Herrmann's powerful stroke as she widened the gap between them. "She was just radiating on the water."

Theobald Lengyel, an El Cerrito resident and one-time rock musician who has a somewhat lengthy criminal history, has been charged with Herrmann's murder, on or about Dec. 5, as well as the burglary of her home on Dec. 30 and the theft on Dec. 31 of a 2003 Volkswagen Beetle belonging to a member of the Herrmann family, according to court papers.

Police ask anyone with information about the case to email Capitola Police Detective Zack Currier at

Remembering Alyx Herrmann: ‘Her spirit was just very strong’
“She was fearless,” her brother Eric told The Scanner this week. “She would uplift everyone around her.”

The family of Alice "Alyx" Kamakaokalani Herrmann has asked those who would like to honor her memory to consider making a donation to the causes that were closest to her heart.

Read more court coverage on The Berkeley Scanner.