Thursday, December 3, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 40

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on April 25th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 8 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 8

Suspected Easter shooter charged with murder


A Lompoc man who allegedly shot and killed his ex-girlfriend in Santa Maria early on Easter Sunday was arrested by Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies on April 19 and charged with murder on April 21.

Jorge Tovar Fernandez, 26, is facing murder charges with special allegations of lying in wait and intentionally discharging a firearm on Elyse Erwin, 28, according to a press release from the District Attorney’s Office. A press release from the Sheriff’s Office said Erwin was discovered on the ground next to her car just before 7 a.m. on April 16, deceased from a gunshot wound to the head.

Sheriff’s deputies detained Tovar for questioning on the day of Erwin’s death. They arrested him later that week, after he arrived at the Santa Maria Courthouse for a child custody hearing regarding his and Erwin’s 6-year-old daughter. Their daughter was initially in custody of Child Welfare Services, but she is now in the care of family members, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Domestic Violence Solutions (DVS) for Santa Barbara County released a statement in response to Erwin’s alleged murder, sending condolences to Erwin’s family and reminding the public of resources for those suffering from domestic violence.

“If you see or hear of incidents of violence, report them,” the statement said. “If you are in an abusive relationship, you are not alone.”

DVS offers crisis hotlines and round-the-clock shelter services located in Santa Maria, Lompoc, and Santa Barbara. According to the organization, crisis calls for people in need of DVS’s emergency shelters have increased significantly over the past four years. For this reason, DVS plans to expand its Santa Maria shelter.

The emergency shelter in Santa Maria will increase its capacity from 28 clients to more than 60, more than doubling the number of victims it can serve over a 45-day period, according to a DVS press release. The expansion is slated for completion this spring.

“Our primary goal is to provide support, help, and advocacy to all affected by domestic violence, and to help them move from being a victim to a survivor,” DVS Executive Director Charles Anderson said in the release.

Tovar is being held in the Santa Barbara County Jail without bail. He was arraigned in the Santa Maria Superior Court on April 21, and his arraignment was continued to May 12 at 8:30 a.m.

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