Man accused of double homicide requests to represent himself

Robert Alan Lehmann, of Costa Mesa, asks court for assistance to access law library and self-help center so he could prepare himself.

July 08, 2011|By Lauren Williams,
  • Robert Lehmann, who is accused of killing his ex-wife Emily Ford, and her father, Russell Ford, appears in court at the Harbor Justice Center for a pretrial conference on Friday.
Robert Lehmann, who is accused of killing his ex-wife… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

NEWPORT BEACH — A Costa Mesa man accused of committing a double homicide outside of his home in May will defend himself if the case goes to trial.

Appearing at a Friday morning hearing in the Harbor Justice Center, defendant Robert Alan Lehmann told Orange County Superior Court Judge Derek G. Johnson he does not plan to use legal counsel.

Johnson agreed to the request, signed the necessary papers, and set a preliminary hearing date for July 15.

Lehmann stood before Johnson in a faded orange jail-issued jumpsuit with thick-rimmed glasses and a goatee. He asked the judge for the court's assistance to access the law library and self-help center so he could better prepare for his defense.

"I've been unable to get any assistance," said Lehmann, who also requested copies of documents that would grant him access to jail resources.

Lehmann, 36, is accused in the May 3 slayings of his ex-wife, Emily Ford, and her father, Russell Ford, in the 3400 block of Santa Clara Circle in northern Costa Mesa.


Ford, 32, a teacher's aide at Paularino Elementary School in Costa Mesa, was granted full custody of their daughter earlier that day after a child custody hearing. Lehmann did not show up to the hearing.

The Orange County district attorney's office alleges that Lehmann, at his home with a loaded gun, waited that evening for the Fords to come and take custody of his and Emily Ford's 7-year-old daughter.Lehman sent his daughter and new wife away for ice cream in the moments before the Fords arrived.

When they got there, prosecutors allege, he shot the two "execution style."

Lehmann pleaded not guilty June 24, to two counts of murder. Other felony charges against him include a sentencing enhancement for murdering a victim by means of lying in wait and using a firearm.

On Friday, Lehmann indicated he wanted to negotiate with the D.A.'s prosecuting attorney Matt Murphy, and was given his phone number before leaving the courtroom.

Murphy did not appear in Johnson's courtroom Friday because he was in court on another case, the judge said.

If convicted, Lehmann could serve up to two life terms in prison without the possibility of parole.

He is being held with no bail set in the Theo Lacy jail in Orange, court records show. Lehmann's next hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. July 15 in Department H-1 at the Harbor Justice Center.

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