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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Child Custody Dispute Leads to Murder of Two in Orange County

Pictured Above: Emily Ford and her father Russell Ford. Source: DMV.

On Tuesday afternoon, a man who had just lost custody of his daughter, shot and killed his ex-wife and her father. Robert Allan Lehmann had been married to Emily Ford for about 10 months. After getting a divorce, they got into a nasty custody battle over their 7-year-old daughter. Lehmann and Ford were to work on the custody agreement on Tuesday of this week in family court, but Lehmann never showed up. Therefore, custody was granted to Ford.

When Ford and her father went to go pick up the 7-year-old from Lehmann's house, Lehmann allegedly pulled out a semi-automatic handgun, in view of the neighbors, and shot his gun 15-20 times, striking Ford and her father. Police were called immediately by neighbors, who all said that they saw Lehmann on the phone during the shooting. He was arrested and taken into custody on suspicion of two counts of murder with special circumstances.

California Penal Code Section 187 (a) defines murder as "the unlawful killing of a human being or a fetus with malice aforethought." Murder can be in the first degree, in the second degree, voluntary or involuntary. Sentences for murder range from a few years in prison to the death penalty. However, sentencing enhancements are tacked onto a murder sentence when a firearm is personally used by the defendant or the murder is in furtherance of an illegal street gang.

Therefore, if you are charged with murder, call an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Common defenses to murder include self-defense or the defense of others, accidental killing, insanity, or false or coerced statements.

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