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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 8:56 pm | Fair 54º


Lompoc Man Charged With Killing Ex-Girlfriend Ordered Back to Court in March

A preliminary hearing for a Lompoc man charged with fatally shooting his former girlfriend on Easter morning likely won’t occur before June.

Elyse Erwin was found gunned down in an Orcutt parking area on April 16. Her ex-boyfriend has been charged in her death.
Elyse Erwin was found gunned down in an Orcutt parking area on April 16. Her ex-boyfriend has been charged in her death. (Erwin family photo)

The case against 27-year-old Jorge Tovar Fernandez returned to Santa Barbara County Superior Court last week.

The defendant, also referred to as Jorge Fernandez Tovar, is charged in connection with the April 16 killing of Elyse Erwin, 28, of Santa Maria, who was gunned down in Orcutt.

Erwin’s body was found in a residential parking area on Goodwin Road. She had been shot in the head.

The victim and the defendant have a young child together.

Tovar Fernandez has been charged with first-degree murder plus a special circumstance for lying in wait, and allegations including discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury, and use of a firearm.

As he entered the courtroom Wednesday, the defendant smiled broadly at those in the audience.

Defense attorney Jeremy Lessem said he had received extensive discovery and was reviewing the information from the prosecution team, which is led by Deputy District Attorney Fabiana Fede.

He suggested tentatively setting a preliminary hearing date for June.

“I don’t even know what I don’t know yet,” Lessem said.

However, Judge Gustavo Lavayen expressed reluctance to set a tentative date, and instead ordered the attorneys to return March 21 to assess the status of the case and potentially schedule a date for the preliminary hearing.

Lavayen began the hearing by noting the presence of Lessem, whose office is in Sherman Oaks. The attorney drove up from Los Angeles, despite the closure of Highway 101 east of Carpinteria.

“It was a long drive, your honor, but I’m here,” he told the judge.

“Glad you made it,” Lavayen said.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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