Retired Ventura County judge kills girlfriend, self

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say a retired California judge has killed his girlfriend and himself.

The Ventura County Star says 69-year-old Herbert Curtis III shot Patricia Payne and then turned the gun on himself after a two-hour standoff with police Sunday night at his Ventura home.

Police say he shot himself as a SWAT team entered the home to rescue Payne, who died at a hospital. She was 54.

Officers were sent to the scene after a neighbor reported the two were arguing.

Police say the motive remains under investigation.

Curtis was a prosecutor before being appointed in 1984 to the Ventura County Municipal Court, which he served as presiding judge in 1991. He was appointed to the county Superior Court in 1998 and retired in 2007.

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