[UPDATED with Unusual Defense:] Emily and Father Russell Ford, OC Homicides Nos. 12 and 13: Her Ex-Husband Held

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UPDATED, JULY 15, 12:30 P.M.: 36-year-old Robert Allan Lehmann is due at Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach today for a preliminary hearing tied to the murder counts he faces for allegedly executing his former wife and father-in-law in May.

It will be lonely at the defense table as a judge last week granted Lehmann's request refusing legal counsel.

The Costa Mesan pleaded not guilty June 24 to two counts of murder and sentencing enhancements for murdering a victim by means of lying in wait and using a firearm.

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Victims Emily and Russell Ford
He faces a maximum sentence of double life terms without the possibility of parole if convicted.

Judge Derek G. Johnson granted Lehmann's request on July 8. The defendant also asked for the court's help in accessing the law library and self-help center so he could better prepare for his defense.

In an unusual request, Lehmann asked for a meeting to negotiate with veteran homicide prosecutor Matt Murphy, who was busy (successfully) prosecuting former NFL player Eric Naposki for murder in another courtroom. Lehmann was reportedly given Murphy's number.

Lehmann did not attend a family court hearing the morning of May 3 that granted full custody of his 7-year-old daughter to the girl's 32-year-old mother and the defendant's former wife, Emily Ford, a popular instructional aide in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.

That evening, Lehmann had sent his daughter and current wife out to have ice cream before his ex-wife and her father, 62-year-old Russell Ford, came to pick up the girl as ordered by the court. Lehmann and Emily Ford had been in an ongoing dispute over custody, attorney fees and choice of school concerning their daughter, a special needs student.

Emily Ford's baby with her current husband was strapped in the car when Lehmann allegedly opened fire on the Fords with a semiautomatic handgun. Ten to 15 bullets struck cars and whizzed past employees of a nearby day care facility and and parents picking up their children.

Lehmann was among several people who called 9-1-1 reporting the shootings.



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