Jorge Fernandez Tovar

Hearing date to be set in January for Easter Sunday murder suspect

The preliminary hearing date for the man accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend outside an apartment complex near Waller Park in April will be set in January.

Jorge Fernandez Tovar, 27, of Lompoc, faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole after allegedly lying in wait before fatally shooting Elyse Erwin with a short-barreled rifle as she was leaving a friend's home early Easter Sunday. 

Tovar pleaded not guilty and denied all special allegations in June.

On Wednesday morning, Tovar's attorney requested that the case return to court Jan. 10 for continued preliminary hearing setting. The prosecution agreed to the continuance, citing some discovery/evidence issues that need to be resolved. 

While he granted the request, Judge Gustavo Lavayen reminded all parties that "my intention, quite frankly, on Jan. 10 will be setting a preliminary hearing."

The preliminary hearing date for the man accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend outside an apartment complex near Waller Park in April will be set in January.

Jorge Fernandez Tovar, 27, of Lompoc, faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole after allegedly lying in wait before fatally shooting Elyse Erwin with a short-barreled rifle as she was leaving a friend's home early Easter Sunday. 

Tovar pleaded not guilty and denied all special allegations in June.

On Wednesday morning, Tovar's attorney requested that the case return to court Jan. 10 for continued preliminary hearing setting. The prosecution agreed to the continuance, citing some discovery/evidence issues that need to be resolved. 

While he granted the request, Judge Gustavo Lavayen reminded all parties that "my intention, quite frankly, on Jan. 10 will be setting a preliminary hearing."

Last month, Tovar's attorney sought to quash the protective order that was issued for the defendant and decedent's young daughter in the case, arguing that there was no accusation that the child was present at the alleged crime scene or in any way witnessed the alleged events. 

Get news headlines sent daily to your inbox

The prosecution opposed the defense's motion to lift the protective order, arguing that the child was indeed a witness in the case, and that Tovar's abusive behavior in the past was fair indication that he may try to manipulate or dissuade his daughter throughout his criminal proceedings. 

Tovar and Erwin were also involved in a bitter child custody battle, during which Erwin used to tell family, friends that she feared for safety, court documents stated. She even made attempts to get a restraining order against Tovar, which were denied. 

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210

0
1
0
0
0