Man accused of fatally shooting ex-wife in Alpine pleads not gui - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man accused of fatally shooting ex-wife in Alpine pleads not guilty to murder charges

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - An Alpine man shot in the leg by sheriff's deputies before allegedly pumping seven bullets into his ex-wife's chest pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of murder and assault with a semiautomatic firearm.

Justin Meltzer, 42, who was arraigned from his hospital bed, was taken into custody Friday night in connection with the death of 40-year-old Deborah Meltzer.

The defendant's bail was set at $2 million.

A friend said the victim had taken her two young sons to Meltzer's home to see their father. The children were at a neighbor's house went the gunfire erupted.

Deputy District Attorney Carlos Campbell told Judge William McGrath that a man running down the street about 5:45 p.m. saw the defendant with the victim outside the home on Larkspur Drive.

The witness said the woman was handcuffed, with a dog leash attached to the cuffs, and was yelling, "Help me. He's got a gun. He's going to kill me," according to the prosecutor.

Campbell said responding deputies shot the suspect in the leg while trying to rescue the victim, but the defendant dragged her into the residence.

Deputies heard gun blasts and went inside, finding a 9mm weapon emptied out next to the defendant, who was lying next to his dead wife.

Deputy Public Defender Dawn Beebee told the judge that the defendant has no prior criminal record.

In addition to murder and the use of a firearm, Meltzer is charged with two counts of assault with a semiautomatic weapon for allegedly threatening neighbors with the gun.

McGrath set a status conference for Jan. 6 and a preliminary hearing for Jan. 12 in El Cajon. Meltzer faces 61 years to life in prison if convicted.

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