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Man kills son, self, after restraint denied

March 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Dozens of protestors gathered outside the Victorville courthouse Monday morning demanding the resignation of a judge who refused to grant a restraining order against a man who threatened his girlfriend and their child. The man later killed the baby and himself.They weren't loud or boisterous. Somber may be a better way to describe the more than 100 people who lined the street in front of the Victorville Courthouse demanding that Superior Court Judge Robert Lemkau step down.

In January, Lemkau denied a restraining order request by Katie Tagle. She and her ex-boyfriend, Stephen Garcia, had a son, Wyatt. Through text messages and e-mails, Tagle claims, Garcia threatened her.

"Wyatt's father, Stephen, had started making death threats towards himself and Wyatt and myself and he wasn't at first, but then all of a sudden when he found out that I had moved on, he started having those crazy thoughts," said Tagle.

In court transcripts, Lemkau said he denied her request adding, "If you're lying, there's going to be adverse consequences." That was January 21. Ten days later, Garcia allegedly shot and killed 9-month-old Wyatt and then shot and killed himself.

"We're calling for the judge to resign," said Alan Boynus, a demonstrator at the courthouse Monday. "We as the community are the ultimate jury and as representatives of the community, we believe that the judge has lost the confidence in the community."

It was an emotional morning for some who showed up to support Tagle. Last week in open court, Lemkau apologized to Tagle, telling her he never meant to put any child in harm's way and is deeply saddened. From his prepared statement, Lemkau told Tagle he could not foresee at the time of the restraining order hearing what would happen.

VictorvilleDailyPress.com had Tagle's reaction.

"I told him that I had wished that he had listened to me," said Tagle. "I wish that if he had, that my son would still be here and Stephen would've gotten the help he needed."

Lemkau has not returned e-mails or phone calls asking for comment on Monday's demonstration.

Lemkau is up for re-election in June.