Morro Bay man arrested again for murder
February 23, 2015
By KAREN VELIE
The day after a local judge ordered a Morro Bay man released from jail, the San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s Office had him arrested for allegedly murdering his wife.
On Friday, San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Donald Umhofer ruled that there was not enough evidence or a clear motive to continue with the murder trial of James Victor Lypps, 54. Umhofer then ordered Lypps released from jail.
On Saturday, Lypps was arrested and booked into the San Luis Obispo Jail. He is currently in custody.
Lypps was accused of murdering his wife Sherre Ann Neal-Lypps, 54, in 2009. When officers arrived at their home on the day of her death, they found Neal-Lypps submerged in the bathtub.
And even though the coroner’s report states that the official cause of death is asphyxiation due to strangulation and drowning, police did not arrest Lypps until Dec. 2014 because of a lack of evidence.
A cold case investigation recently revealed that the victim’s fingernail clippings had Lypp’s DNA on them. Morro Bay police initially did not process the fingernail clippings for DNA and only recently sent them to a Department of Justice crime lab.
Last week, prosecutors accused Lypps of killing his wife in order to collect her Social Security money and use it to pay the mortgage. The prosecution then produced a letter Lypps allegedly wrote to his sister following his wife’s death.
“I thought I was to get Sherre’s Social Security, which would have made the mortgage payment. I was wrong,” the letter states. “Something is very wrong with my brain.”
Umhofer, however, said it was unclear how Lypps would have benefited financially from his wife’s death.
Defense attorney Matthew Guerrero argued that Neal-Lypps actually committed suicide. Guerrero said Neal-Lypps suffered from depression and had spent time in a psychiatric hospital shortly before her death.
Guerrero said, at the time, Neal-Lypps was depressed, had recently attempted suicide and had been placed in involuntary psychiatric hold. He also argued that Neal-Lypps was abusive to her husband and that neighbors had stated that she was often the aggressor during fights.