Wendy Howard

Wendy Howard

The bail for a Tehachapi woman accused of murdering a man who court documents say was her ex-husband but her family called an ex-boyfriend was significantly lowered by a Kern County Judge Wednesday.

Wendy Howard, 50, of Tehachapi is now being held on $500,000 bail pending her first-degree murder trial after Judge Kenneth C. Twisselman II lowered her bail from its original $1 million.

Miranda Frost, Howard's daughter, said she and the rest of her family are happy Wednesday's hearing went in her mother's favor. But the amount is still too high for them to post bail for Howard.

Typical of her other court proceedings, about 15 of Howard's family and friends rallied outside the courthouse before Wednesday's hearing to show their support. 

Howard was arrested June 6 after she called 911 to report she had shot Kelly Rees Pitts, 59, in front of her home at the 400 block of Appaloosa Court in Tehachapi, according to TPD police reports filed in Kern County Superior Court.

Supporters of Howard say, however, that she was acting in self-preservation and protection for her daughters, who were allegedly sexually abused by Pitts. Howard said she was physically abused by Pitts — and Pitts had previously tried to rape and kill her, according to the TPD reports filed in court.

The Californian does not generally name alleged victims of sexual crimes, but Frost has publicly spoken out.

Howard is scheduled to be arraigned in Kern County Superior Court Sept. 16.