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O.C. man convicted of killing ex-wife, her father after custody dispute

September 28, 2012 |  1:51 pm

Lehmann crime scene

An Orange County man was convicted Friday of gunning down his ex-wife and her father in an ambush when they came to pick up the former couple's 7-year-old daughter after a custody dispute, prosecutors said.

Robert Allan Lehmann, 37, was found guilty by a jury of two felony counts of murder, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office. Lehmann, of Costa Mesa, could face a maximum sentence of two life terms in state prison without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Prosecutors said that in May 2011, a judge ruled in favor of Lehmann's ex-wife, Emily Ford, having custody of their daughter, who has special needs. That evening, Ford, 32, was set to pick up her daughter and had arranged for her 62-year-old father, Russell Ford, to come with her, prosecutors said.

But just before they arrived, prosecutors said, Lehmann sent the girl out with his current wife for ice cream. Then, prosecutors said, he got a firearm and waited for the Fords to arrive.

At about 5:30 p.m., Emily Ford and Russell Ford arrived at the home, Emily Ford leaving her younger child in a car seat. Prosecutors said once they approached the house, Lehmann opened the door and started shooting at them.

They attempted to flee, and Lehmann pursued them, continuing to shoot. Gunfire struck two cars parked in front of a daycare center across the street, although no one was injured, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also said he shot both Fords in the back several times, and they fell to the ground. As the father and daughter lay bleeding on the ground, prosecutors said, Lehmann reloaded his firearm and shot them repeatedly in the back of the head.

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-- Rick Rojas

Photo: Police tape and yellow tarps surround Robert Lehmann's house in Costa Mesa, where he killed his ex-wife and her father. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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