A 40-year-old San Luis Obispo woman who allegedly slashed the throat of an ex-boyfriend is facing the possibility of life in prison. At a preliminary hearing last week, San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy upheld the attempted murder charge
On June 17, Erika Christine Deherrera allegedly lured Robert Johnson, 55, to a secluded location, began rubbing his shoulders, tilted his head back and cut his throat from one side to the other with a box cutter, Johnson said.
In June, Johnson, who lives in Hawaii, flew back to San Luis Obispo to pack up items he had left behind. A phone call from Deherrera, in which she said she had lost all of her belongings in a fire last March that destroyed a residence on Portola Road in Atascadero, prompted a reunion, Johnson said.
Following the fire, Deherrera and her current boyfriend moved to Sunny Acres, a sober living facility in San Luis Obispo.
Johnson said he agreed to lend Deherrera $300 and chauffeur her to a job interview and shopping. While at Home Depot in San Luis Obispo, Deherrera purchased a box cutter, Johnson said.
On Saturday afternoon, as they drove back to Sunny Acres, Deherrera asked Johnson to stop at the Bishop Peak trailhead so she could “chill for a bit.” The two then walked to a small pond where they sat down on the ground to talk, he said.
“She said ,’Hey, want me to rub your back?’ ” Johnson said.
While Deherrera rubbed his back, Johnson talked about his life in Hawaii. Deherrera then tilted Johnson’s head back and jabbed the box cutter into his neck. Johnson said.
“She was acting like she was going to crack my neck, then she reached around and started slicing my throat,” Johnson said. “I grabbed her and threw her over the top of me.”
Johnson then attempted to take the box cutter from Deherrera. The two fought over the box cutter until Johnson, while blood sprayed from his neck onto his ex, punched Deherrera in the face several times, he said. Afraid she would go after him, Johnson then kicked Deherrera and ran up the trail to Foothill Boulevard.
An EMT on her way to work stopped and helped put pressure on the wound until an ambulance arrived and transported Johnson to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center where he was treated for a seven inch cut that sliced through his jugular vein, he said.
While Johnson was in surgery, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies found Deherrera hiding in some bushes at a neighborhood near the trail on Cerro Romaldo Avenue.
Prosecutors have charged Deherrera with attempted murder, felony assault with a deadly weapon and corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant. It convicted of first degree attempted murder, Deherrera could be sentenced to life in prison.
Deherrera, who remains in the San Luis Obispo County jail with her bail set at $500,000, is scheduled to return to court on Aug. 10 to re-enter a plea.