Wendy Howard

Wendy Howard

The trial for a woman accused of killing her former partner after confronting him for allegedly sexually assaulting their daughter has been scheduled for April. 

Wendy Howard, 50, of Tehachapi appeared in Kern County Superior Court Monday morning sporting a teal and purple ribbon on her blazer — the domestic violence and sexual assault awareness ribbon — to once again plead not guilty to first-degree murder. She is accused of killing Kelly Rees Pitts, 59. While court documents say Pitts was Howard's ex-husband, her family says he was her former boyfriend. 

Tony Lidgett, Howard's attorney, will continue to represent her, Howard confirmed. 

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

Howard was arrested June 6 after she called 911 to report she had shot Pitts in front of her home at the 400 block of Appaloosa Court in Tehachapi, according to Tehachapi 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 in this case they have publicly spoken out.