BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Kern County judge on Tuesday postponed making a ruling on a motion to dismiss the case against Tehachapi woman Wendy Howard, saying she’ll have to review a transcript to see if Howard’s attorney made an objection to the jury verdict form.

Last year a jury found Howard not guilty of first-degree murder and the lesser included offenses of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter imperfect self-defense and involuntary manslaughter in the shooting of an ex-boyfriend who molested her daughter.

But jurors deadlocked 7-5 for guilt on a second theory of voluntary manslaughter — voluntary manslaughter heat of passion — that was also filed as a lesser included offense.

Judge Elizabet Rodriguez — who was not the trial judge — asked defense attorney Tony Lidgett if he objected to the way the verdict form was laid out asking jurors to vote on both theories of voluntary manslaughter instead of just including them in a single charge. Lidgett says he objected off the record in the trial judge’s chambers but was not sure if he made an on the record objection.

Rodriguez said she will have to review transcripts to see if Lidgett did in fact lodge an objection.

“If there was no objection than the court’s tentative is to deny the motion,” Rodriguez said.

She set the next hearing for April 5.

Lidgett had argued in his motion Howard could not be retried for voluntary manslaughter because the jury found her not guilty of the imperfect self-defense charge. In effect, Lidgett argued an acquittal on one theory of voluntary manslaughter counts as an acquittal of the charge as a whole.

Prosecutor Eric Smith, however, in a prior hearing told the court Howard can be retried on voluntary manslaughter heat of passion because it contains different elements than the imperfect self-defense charge and can be considered separately.

The shooting happened June 5, 2019, on Appaloosa Court, three days after Howard learned Kelly Rees Pitts, 57, molested their then-teenage daughter Bayley Frost. Although they broke up years ago, Pitts lived a few houses down from Howard. Pitts allegedly molested another daughter of Howard years earlier but charges were never brought due to insufficient evidence.

Howard testified at trial she was in fear for her life when she fired. Prosecutors argued she decided to kill Pitts instead of waiting for police to finish their investigation.