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Lompoc woman pleads not guilty in murder of neighbor

Posted at 11:41 AM, Sep 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-17 21:44:38-04

A Lompoc woman charged with murdering her 74-year-old neighbor has pleaded not guilty.

Melissa Leigh Martin, 36, entered the plea Tuesday in a Lompoc courtroom, three months after the murder of Eldri Terese Jauch.

Police say Jauch’s body was found in Martin’s apartment in June a few days after Jauch’s sister reported her missing.

Martin was arrested outside a home in Santa Ynez shortly after.

Detectives say Jauch died from blunt force trauma. They’re not releasing a possible motive but say the complaint against Martin alleges that she used a baseball bat in the commission of the murder.

Jail logs show Martin remains in custody with bail set at more than $2 million.

She is due back in court Oct. 22.