Friday, June 27, 2008

Melrose slaying suspect to face death penalty


The State Attorney’s Office is expected to file paperwork today at the Putnam County Courthouse that will seek the death penalty against accused killer Toby Lee Lowry.

Assistant State Attorney Matt Cline, the prosecutor for the case, said he met with State Attorney John Tanner and Assistant State Attorney Noah McKinnon to decide the issue.

Cline said seeking death in a capital case is the most important and difficult decision the state can make, and every mitigating factor is considered.

“In any case where the death penalty is a possibility, it’s a legal weighing analysis,” he said. “You look at the aggravators, you look at the statutory mitigators. Obviously, we feel the aggravators outweigh the mitigators.

“It’s the biggest decision a prosecutor can make.”

Cline said the decision was “clear cut.”

Lowry, 22, is charged with first-degree murder, burglary with an assault or battery and robbery with a deadly weapon in the April 25 slaying of 66-year-old James Thomas Stewart.

Stewart was found in his Melrose home by investigators, having been beaten with steel rods, stabbed multiple times and suffocated.

Also charged in the murder is Lowry’s girlfriend, 15-year-old Morgan Amanda Leppert.

On May 22, a grand jury determined that Leppert will be tried as an adult. However, she will not face the death penalty because of a state statute which forbids capital punishment for minors.

Leppert and Lowry have pleaded not guilty to the crimes.

On June 13, Lowry reportedly attempted to commit suicide in his cell at the Putnam County Jail.
After being treated at Putnam Community Medical Center, he was later returned to an isolation cell at the jail where he was placed on suicide watch.

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