A Tanglewood man pleaded not guilty in Santa Barbara County Superior Court Tuesday to the shooting death of his wife during a domestic dispute in the unincorporated community.

Bespectacled and wearing a blue jumpsuit, Eladio Herrera, 63, appeared by video conference from the Main Jail for an initial appearance before Superior Court Judge Kay Kuns in Santa Maria and, via phone, entered not guilty pleas to charges of murder and assault with a firearm. 

Additionally, he denied two enhancements, including using a firearm and causing great bodily injury during the commission of a felony. Herrera's bail was set at $3 million. 

Sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call about a domestic dispute in the 1800 block of Ironwood Drive, located approximately two miles west of the Santa Maria Public Airport, shortly after 10:30 p.m. Sunday, according to spokeswoman Raquel Zick. 

When deputies arrived, they found Herrera sitting inside a car parked in front of the residence and later detained him after he allegedly told deputies he shot his wife, 38-year-old Dolores Reyes. 

Emergency responders entered the residence and located Reyes, who appeared to have sustained several gunshot wounds to the chest. They immediately began attempts to save her life but were unsuccessful, according to Zick, who added an autopsy is scheduled Wednesday. 

Herrera appeared with his attorney, Public Defender Mark Owens, and Deputy District Attorney Nguyen Tran, before a virtually empty Santa Maria courtroom due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. 

Kuns also ordered a restraining order for Herrera, requiring him to stay at least 150 yards away from and have no contact with his 15-year-old daughter and 17-year-old stepson. 

Herrera's next appearance is scheduled for a preliminary hearing setting at 8:30 a.m. April 15 in Department 7 of Superior Court in Santa Maria. 

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