A Santa Barbara man will return to court in May to set a date for his preliminary hearing on charges that he killed his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter.
Elvis Alberto Lopez, 25, appeared in court last Thursday to set that date, but the matter was continued to May 4 for a preliminary hearing setting, Supervising Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Karapetian told the News-Press.
Mr. Lopez was charged in a six-count felony complaint with the murder of 3-year-old “Jane Doe” on Feb. 4, with assault on a child causing death for the Feb. 4 incident, and with child abuse for an incident that occurred on Feb. 2, prosecutors said.
In counts 4 through 6, “the defendant is charged with three separate incidents of child abuse that allegedly occurred between Sept. 1, 2022 and Feb. 1, 2023,” prosecutors said.
Mr. Lopez was previously convicted of a serious and violent felony, or “strike” offense, prosecutors said. If convicted in this case, he would receive a second strike, according to the complaint filed against him.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and he denied all special allegations. His bail is set at $4 million.
Santa Barbara police dispatch received a 9-1-1 call reporting a medical emergency concerning the child at 1:33 p.m. on Feb. 4. The initial report was that a 3-year-old girl had fallen out of bed, injuring herself.
Santa Barbara City Fire and American Medical Response personnel were attending to the child, performing CPR, when police arrived. The child was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Santa Barbara police detectives, with the assistance of the Santa Barbara County Coroner’s office, investigated the girl’s death. Based on the evidence gathered, the case was categorized as a homicide.
Based upon their investigation of what police called “this heinous crime,” detectives identified Mr. Lopez, the boyfriend of the girl’s mother, as their prime suspect, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
He was contacted at his family’s residence by Santa Barbara Police Department detectives and taken into custody without incident, police said.