The Los Angeles-area man accused of killing his Realtor ex-wife is undergoing a preliminary hearing on the charges.

Erwin Percy Howard, 51, is facing murder charges in the death of Julia “Deede” Keller, a popular real estate agent in L.A.’s South Bay area who disappeared July 8, 2004.

Prosecutors during the trial suggested that Howard found ways to skirt security at Los Angeles International Airport during his work shift, which gave him the chance to carry out the crime, the Daily Breeze reported.

An airline official testified that Howard could not account for his whereabouts during part of his shift on July 8, 2004, according to reports from the Daily Breeze.

During those blocks of time on that day when Howard’s whereabouts were uncertain, prosecutors told the judge he was likely “stalking” Keller, the Daily Breeze reported.

Keller was last seen on July 8, a year ago. Keller’s body was found in the trunk of her Mercedes-Benz a week later in San Diego, about 140 miles south of where she had last been seen alive at her home near Los Angeles International Airport.

Howard, who was divorced from Keller in 2003 after a five-year marriage, was arrested and booked on murder charges in March. He pleaded innocent at his arraignment on March 7 and was ordered held on $1-million bail.

A few days after Keller went missing, Howard flew to Bolivia to visit his mother and returned home four days later. Howard and his attorney have argued that a guilty man would not have come back, the Daily Breeze reports.

Prosecutors have said Howard was angry with Keller because she had begun seeing another man, and have depicted him as a jealous ex-husband.

A witness at the hearing identified Howard as a man she saw on July 9, 2004, driving a gray Mercedes-Benz such as the one Keller’s body was later found in, according to the Daily Breeze.

The preliminary hearing, which started last week, is expected to conclude Wednesday, according to Daily Breeze reports. The judge will then decide whether there the prosecution has enough evidence for the court to put Howard on trial for a sole murder charge.


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