BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A verdict wasn’t reached Thursday, the first full day of deliberations in the trial of Tehachapi woman Wendy Howard. Jurors will return Friday morning to resume deliberations.
The jury received the case late Wednesday afternoon after a 10-day trial.
Howard, 53, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of ex-boyfriend Kelly Rees Pitts, 57, but the jury can consider lesser included offenses of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
During trial, Howard testified she feared for her life when she confronted Pitts on June 5, 2019, over his molestation of the daughter they shared in common. She said she fired in self-defense.
The prosecution has argued Howard armed herself — placing a handgun in her back waistband where Pitts couldn’t see it — and confronted him with the intent of provoking him. Prosecutor Eric Smith said she initiated the contact so she could administer “vigilante justice” instead of letting police finish their investigation.