Covering a sheriff's deputy being cleared in the fatal shooting of a Marine in San Clemente prevented me from getting this up Friday: A jury that same day convicted Robert Allan Lehmann of shooting his ex-wife and her father to death in May 2011.
The Costa Mesa 37-year-old is now looking at possible double life terms in prison at his scheduled Nov. 2 sentencing in Santa Ana.
The morning of May 3, 2011, Lehmann blew off a family court hearing, where full custody of his then-7-year-old daughter, a special needs student, was granted to Lehmann's 32-year-old ex-, Emily Ford, a popular instructional aide in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.
evening, Lehmann had sent his daughter and current wife out to have ice
cream before Ford and her father, 62-year-old Russell Ford, came to Lehmann's Costa Mesa home to pick up the girl as ordered by the court. Emily Ford's baby with her current husband was strapped in the
As the Fords approached, Lehmann opened fire with a
semiautomatic handgun, with 10-15 rounds striking cars and
whizzing past workers and parents at a neighborhood day care facility. Lehmann also struck the Fords in the ambush, and as they lay on the ground bleeding, the victims' former husband and son-in-law executed each by shooting them in the backs and heads at close range.
Lehmann then joined several shocked neighbors in calling 9-1-1 to report the shootings.
In an unusual move, Lehmann later represented himself in court and petitioned the judge to allow access to the jail's law library. That did not prevent the jury from finding him guilty last week of two felony counts of special circumstances murder with
sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon,
multiple murders and lying in wait.
If the murders were, as advertised, Lehmann's reaction to his long-simmering displeasure over how his daughter would be cared for, one wonders how the senseless killings have made anything better for a child who is now essentially parent-less.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.