O.C. man shot girlfriend until he ran out of ammo, D.A. says

An Orange County man was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday for the fatal shooting of his live-in girlfriend during a confrontation, prosecutors said, but the arraignment was pushed to Nov. 30.

Thomas Michael Wilhelm, 48, was indicted by a grand jury last month and faces one felony count of murder, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in prison.

Prosecutors say that on the evening of July 8, Wilhelm took a handgun from a neighbor's home before returning to his Costa Mesa home, where he confronted his girlfriend, Christine Murray.

Prosecutors contend that Wilhelm fired the handgun repeatedly, shooting Murray  until the gun was out of ammunition.

He returned to his neighbor's home, found a shotgun and fired one round into the ground, prosecutors said.

Costa Mesa police arrived within minutes of the initial shooting and found Murray with gunshot wounds to her chest. Murray, 45, was rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Police found the firearm at the scene and arrested Wilhelm a short time later, prosecutors said.

This story was reported by Times Staff Writer Rick Rojas.

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