Take a look at some of the key individuals involved in the case of Lindsey Lowe, a Hendersonville woman charged with killing her newborn twins in 2011. More >>
Take a look at some of the key individuals involved in the case of Lindsey Lowe, a Hendersonville woman charged with killing her newborn twins in 2011. More >>
GALLATIN, TN (WSMV) -
Lindsey Lowe woke up in jail Wednesday as her attorneys began to plan her appeal. A jury convicted her Tuesday of killing her newborn twins, but we've learned that won't be the end of it.
Lowe was sentenced to serve at least 51 years in prison for delivering then killing her twin newborns in her family's Hendersonville home in September 2011.
"We've already started compiling information and thinking of points that we'll appeal," said defense attorney John Pellegrin. "We'll have a lot issues to present."
Pellegrin developed what he considers a close relationship with the woman and her family.
"The Lowe family's just top-notch folks. I mean, you just couldn't ask for anyone better," Pellegrin said. "They're devastated, as are we. We've spent a lot of time with Lindsey and become very close to her. But she has a strong faith, and we hope there's brighter days ahead."
Ultimately, jurors did not believe the defense story of Lowe's mental issues. Despite the verdict, the attorney stood by his case and mentioned to Lowe's reaction to the verdict - in which she clutched a Bible and told her family she would be "OK" - as further proof.
"I'm not sure if things had not hit her yet or if it's part of this dissociative disorder we've been talking about, where when she gets stressed, she just - as one of the doctors said - gets outside of her body. It's like it's not happening to her," Pellegrin said.
As the defense prepares to appeal, Pellegrin pointed to photos taken at a wedding two days before delivery used as evidence in the trial. For him, they reveal a woman - full term with twins - wearing the same, un-altered dress she fit nine months prior.
For the attorney, common sense rules the day and still forms his opinion of the woman now sitting in jail.
"She didn't walk like a pregnant lady. She didn't look like a pregnant lady. She didn't act like a pregnant lady," Pellegrin said. "By and large, she just somehow dissociated, pushed it out of her mind and just did not accept it."
As for Lowe, she remains in the Sumner County Jail in a medical unit. Her attorney would not call it "suicide watch" but did say deputies continue to keep a close eye on her.
A sentencing hearing is set for April 26.
Lowe found guilty on all counts
A jury found a Sumner County woman guilty on all counts in the deaths of her newborn twins.
Lindsey Lowe had been charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, first-degree pre-meditated murder and aggravated child abuse after she was accused of murdering her sons after they were born in September 2011.
The murder charges carry an automatic life sentence, and a hearing is set for April for sentencing in the lesser charges.
The jury deliberated for about two hours Tuesday following more than five days of testimony.
Closing arguments Tuesday
Lowe's attorney John Pellegrin said Tuesday that his client did not premeditate the killings of the twins.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this young lady wasn't aware of much of anything that night," said Pellegrin.
Pellegrin suggested Lowe's family was also the victims in this case, not just the twins.
Sumner County District Attorney Ray Whitley said in his closing arguments that the defense team's key witness, Forensic Physiatrist Dr. William Kenner, was "biased for Lindsey Lowe."
Whitley also defended the detective who took Lowe's confession and called him "kind" in the way he treated her after her arrest.
Lowe has pleaded not guilty but faces six counts: four first-degree murder charges (two counts of pre-meditation and two in the commission of child abuse), along with two counts child abuse.
On Monday, she waived her right to appear as a witness in the trial.
Her lawyer asked her if she understood what she was doing and then asked her why she did not want to speak to the jury.
"I just don't feel like I can emotionally handle it," said Lowe, fighting back tears.
Lowe's father, Mark Lowe, took the stand and told the jury Monday about his daughter's church involvement since her arrest. He said the church has been exceedingly supportive.
She and her fiancé, Jonathan Brooks, were engaged for several years. According to Mark Lowe, the engagement was "dysfunctional" and he suspected the marriage would never happen. Brooks lives in Louisville and had no plans to leave that area.
Mark Lowe testified that after his daughter's arrest, he told police to take her to the hospital before questioning her. She has an A- blood type and needed some sort of injection after delivery, but she was not taken to the hospital.
He also testified that he was told by Hendersonville police that he could not send an attorney with her for the questioning, "because she was too old."
Lowe's defense team asked for a mistrial Monday, arguing Judge Dee David Gay should not have spoken so harshly to Lowe last week in rebuking her before the jury.
The defense team also argued the judge is treating Lowe's attorney, John Pellegrin, unfairly.
"We feel like we're being held to a different standard than the prosecution," Pellegrin said.
Judge Gay denied the motion for a mistrial.
The defense spent Friday casting Lowe as a woman haunted by mental issues.
During the fourth day of testimony, one of the doctors who examined the Hendersonville woman testified Lowe, who is now 26, did not have the mental capacity to commit first-degree murder. In other words, she didn't know what she was doing.
"She was suffering from both a mental disease and a mental defect. An abnormal condition of mind," testified Dr. Pamela Auble, a clinic neuropsychologist. "And in my opinion, she lacked the capacity to form the culpable mental state for first-degree murder, because of mental disease and defect."
Once again, Lowe brought a Bible to court. But she read a book on state evidence law as her attorneys argued her case in court.
The Hendersonville woman, who admitted to police she delivered, then smothered newborn twins at her Hendersonville home, faces six felony charges.
But Dr. William Kenner argued Lowe did not fully accept the fact she was pregnant.
"Probably 99.5 percent of the time she considered herself not pregnant," testified Kenner, a forensic psychiatrist. "There were probably these 'Oh, shoot' moments where, you know, something came through to her, like, you know, 'I'm pregnant.' That's what typically happens with these women."
What she knew, and when, plays a key part in the case.
The state, in questioning Kenner, revealed a set of Google searches on Lowe's iPhone.
The searches included "pregnant women and doctor porn," "free videos of pregnant sex," and "things to make you go into labor."
All of those searches happened six days before Lowe delivered her twins.
Her defense expert tried to explain it.
"She was under a great deal of stress," testified Kenner. "And they can split off actual segments of behavior. And the most alarming example of that is what used to be called multiple personality disorders."
Lowe faces the possibility of life in prison.
A jury could begin weighing the evidence after closing arguments Monday or Tuesday in a case where regret may not be enough.
Kenner also planned to testify about Lowe's mental state during her police interview.
The taped confession sits at the center of the state's case.
But Judge Dee David Gay found his opinion "biased" and kept it from jurors.
Earlier today, Kenner told jurors that Lowe felt sick and thought she was going to die, but didn't realize she had given birth until she reached down and felt an ear.
Kenner said Lowe fell to the floor afterward, hit her head on the floor and lapsed in and out of consciousness.
Under cross-examination, Kenner acknowledged that Lowe had told her mother she was OK, when the mother knocked on the bathroom door before she gave birth. Kenner also said that he had no idea how much blood Lowe lost.
Kenner will not be able to testify in regards to a police interview after her arrest.
Gay ruled Friday morning that Kenner cannot discuss certain elements of the case because "his testimony appears to be personal, not professional. His bias is clear."
Kenner wrote a report on that matter, which will not be available to the jury.
Defense attorneys were hoping to have Kenner tell jurors that a detective who interviewed Lowe led her to confess while she was in an altered state. Defense attorneys claim Lowe confessed to killing her children when she didn't fully realize what she was doing.
Kenner still testified about Lowe's "diminished capacity" during the killings of her twins.
Kenner said Lowe was delirious during delivery. He also said, given her pregnancy denial, she didn't realize she was pregnant "99.5 percent" of the time.
The prosecution, however, did get Kenner to admit that on Sept. 3, 2011, nine days before giving birth, she Googled "pregnancy calendar" on her iPhone. Two days later, she Googled "pregnant and doctor porn."
Kenner seems to suggest Lowe's mental issues allowed her body to physiologically hide her pregnancy. He believes the twins sat vertically inside her, which allowed her to carry them to full term without being noticed.
In regards to this, the prosecution asked, "How did you know that?" Kenner said the medical knowledge on the issue allows him to believe it.
Testimony wrapped for the day just before 3 p.m. Gay announced that lead defense attorney John Pellegrin had a death in his family.
The defense attorneys began laying out their case Thursday in the murder trial of Lindsey Lowe, painting the young woman as a victim.
The father of the twin boys, Jeremy Smith, said he would've helped care for them. Lowe is accused of smothering the boys shortly after they were born.
"When I learned of the death of the babies, I was in shock. I couldn't believe it," Smith testified.
Smith was one of the state's final witnesses against Lowe.
As he left the witness stand, Lowe buried her head against the Bible laying on the defense table.
The judge soon scolded her prior to a recess with the jury out of the courtroom.
"I will not have you sitting there, acting like a child or displaying emotion uncontrolled," said Judge Gay. "The next time this happens, you will be excluded from this courtroom."
Before the state wrapped, the jury viewed autopsy photos of the twins Lowe admitted in police statements she smothered.
Dr. Brent Davis, a forensic pathologist who performed the autopsies, testified both of the babies were healthy-appearing and each weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces. He said it's possible that the twins died of hypothermia.
"It's a normal-appearing newborn child," Davis testified. "These kids were in pristine condition. They were normally-developed. They looked healthy. Everything was developed the way it should. [There was] nothing was physically wrong with these children."
During afternoon testimony, her psychiatrist said mental defect kept Lowe from realizing what she did and why.
"Her brain wasn't working. The wheels had come off," testified Dr. William Kenner, a forensic psychiatrist.
Kenner also said she was prone to being misled in the police interview, at the cornerstone of the prosecution's case.
"She's looking for a way out and the only way out is to buy his narrative," Kenner testified.
In court today, Lowe sat at the defense table with a Bible.
From time to time she read, trying - it seems - to ignore the testimony, and the fact that her faith may be her only hope.
"She delivered twins - the date of the delivery - in a toilet bowl," said Gay after the defense's motion to dismiss charges. "She did nothing to keep them alive. Absolutely nothing. And, in fact, she did everything she could, according to the evidence most favorable to the state, to kill them. After she smothered and killed the first baby, she did the same thing to the second baby."
Smith testified he learned he was the father of Lowe's twins after DNA tests were conducted in September.
Smith told the jury if the babies had lived, he would have helped care for them. However Lowe's defense said that Smith had to go to court on child support issues for a child he has with another woman in Kentucky.
Smith said he told Lowe, 26, he wanted to marry her and wanted her to be the mother of his children.
The defense team argued there was "no plan" and "no premeditation" on Lowe's part.
The trial was delayed for a brief time Wednesday afternoon as the defendant left the courtroom in tears.
After listening to hours of emotional testimony, including a police interview during which Lowe admitted to their deaths, Lowe appeared to slump in her chair, crying.
The judge called for a recess as Lowe was escorted from the courtroom to an adjoining room to recover.
When she returned to the defense table, the trial proceeded with witnesses for the prosecution, including a technology expert with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation who described a long list of text messages exchanged between Lowe and the father of her twins.
Jurors on Wednesday viewed a 30-minute recorded conversation between Lowe and a Hendersonville detective that was recorded after her arrest in which she admitted both twins were alive when they were born.
Her mother apparently believed she was sick and came to the bathroom door after she delivered the babies.
During the interview, Lowe described cleaning up the bathroom, then taking a shower following the delivery of her twins. She said the pain kept her awake.
Lowe told Hendersonville Police Det. Steve Malach she knew she was pregnant "pretty much from the start." She said she didn't think of giving the twins a burial after the birth.
Days before delivering her twins, Lowe admitted to police that she had a glass of wine at the wedding reception where she served as a bridesmaid.
Sumner County prosecutors on Tuesday wasted no time painting a young mother as a killer and a woman who never wanted her children to live.
Attorneys for the state argued Lowe, who hid her pregnancy, made no preparations for the babies' births and delivered by herself in the bathroom.
Jurors saw crime scene photos that revealed the place where twin newborns died and Lowe's life changed forever.
They also heard emotional testimony from one of the first officers who responded to the 911 call and the detective who took Lowe's confession.
"She said that she tried to keep it as quiet as well, and put her hand - just like the first one - over its mouth until it no longer cried," said Hendersonville Police Det. Steve Malach.
Lowe's mother found one of the newborns in a laundry basket in the young woman's bedroom. Only after detectives made contact with Lowe did they learn about a second baby hidden beneath the first.
In court on Tuesday, attorneys described how Lowe sought no prenatal care and bought no diapers or other supplies before giving birth to the boys at home on Sept. 12, 2011.
Prosecutors suggested that Lowe's lack of preparations showed she never intended for the babies to live.
"These twins never had a chance to live," said Sumner County District Attorney General Ray Whitley.
But defense attorneys argued that Lowe had blocked the pregnancy from her mind, saying she didn't even know what was happening when she started to give birth.
"The prosecution wants to make this case simple. They want to make it about an evil mother killing babies, plain and simple. They don't want to talk about the facts. They don't want to talk about the background. They don't want to talk about what was going on in her head," said defense attorney John Pellegrin.
Lowe told police she smothered the babies after they were born, but defense attorneys suggested that idea was planted by police.
Officer Jeremy Fentress, one of the first officers to arrive at the Lowe's house in 2011, took the stand Tuesday and outlined what he saw when he arrived.
"I saw the white laundry basket on the right side of the bed covered in a plaid sheet, or comforter style. At that point, we walked over to it, saw a bloody towel. After I pulled the bloody towel back, I saw a deceased newborn," said Fentress.
Jury selection Monday
A jury of seven men and five women was seated Monday and will hear testimony in the trial against Lowe, which is expected to last at least five days, according to the judge.
Lowe told police she hid her pregnancy from everyone before giving birth. The 26-year-old said she covered the boys' mouths after they were born to prevent her parents from hearing their cries.
Police say the babies' father was not Lowe's fiance but a family friend.
Whitley has cited the affair as a possible motive for the twins' killing.
Pellegrin has said he believes that Lowe was mentally ill when she killed the children.
Whitley has said he will not seek the death penalty. The jury and three alternates - all men - was selected from a pool of 180 people.
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