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Long Beach father pleads not guilty to killing ex-girlfriend

A Long Beach man pleaded not guilty Jan. 14 to killing his 25-year-old ex-girlfriend in front of their son during an argument in December, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Eric Jerome Williams Jr. a 29-year-old black man, has been charged with murder, child abuse, possession of a firearm by a felon and resisting or delaying a peace officer, prosecutors said. Williams also faces two counts of injuring a child's parent, which are charges from a previous incident.

The complaint also includes a special circumstance allegation that Williams killed Jerica Owens because she was a witness to a crime and a special allegation that he discharged a firearm which caused death.

Williams and Owens were in a relationship for several years, had a son together and shared a home before they broke up, according to a news release from the district attorney's office.

On Dec. 22, Williams met with Owens and their son in the 1900 block of Chestnut in Long Beach, where the two adults got into an argument, according to the release.

Williams allegedly pulled out a gun and shot Owens in the head several times in front of their son, then fled the area with their child. He was arrested later that day after witnesses reported seeing a toddler running nearly naked in the area.

A Long Beach police officer spotted Williams at a friend's home near the shooting scene. Williams refused to come out when police officers came to the door, and the officers forcibly entered out of fear for the child's safety. Williams was arrested at that time.

One of the charges stems from an incident on Oct. 10, 2015, when Williams met with Owens to exchange their son, according to the release. Williams allegedly became angry with Owens, choking her until she passed out and choking her again when she regained consciousness, prosecutors say.

Williams was previously convicted of battery in 2008 and unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle in 2010, according to prosecutors.

If convicted, Williams faces the death penalty or life in prison without the  possibility of parole, according to the release. The decision whether to seek the death penalty will be made at a later date. 

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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