Skip to comments.Despite ‘Castle Doctrine,’ Defendant is Convicted in Slaying (Disabled, Retired Marine Convicted)
Posted on 05/31/2012 8:25:13 AM PDT by DogByte6RER
Despite Castle Doctrine, defendant is convicted in slaying
A PHILADELPHIA JUDGE said Wednesday he was convinced that a disabled, retired Marine was being attacked in the moments before he fatally stabbed a man last October, but he concluded that the stabbing was still a criminal act rather than self-defense.
Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner then convicted Jonathan Lowe, 57, of voluntary manslaughter and possession of an instrument of crime. The judge found him not guilty of the more-serious charges of first- and third-degree murder.
Lowe, who wears a pacemaker and has survived two strokes and two heart surgeries, could face up to 12 1/2 to 25 years in prison when Lerner sentences him Aug. 16.
The case underscores how uncertain the claim of self-defense can be, even in a state that revised its "Castle Doctrine" last year to give an individual the right to use deadly force in self-defense anywhere in which a person has a legal right to be. The revised law also eliminated the duty to retreat before using that force. Lowes case was featured in March in a Daily News article about the revision of that doctrine.
The voluntary-manslaughter conviction means that Lowe committed the stabbing under provocation but that his actions were unreasonable, or imperfect self-defense, Lerner said.
"There are some unanswered questions in my mind about what happened here," Lerner said. "We will never know exactly how this incident began, and I dont think we will ever know, 100 percent, when the stabbing began."
During the two-day nonjury trial, Lowe and his attorney, Samuel C. Stretton, argued that he acted in self-defense on the evening of Oct. 1, 2011, when he was jumped by Loren Manning Jr., 51, and at least two other men on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near Bouvier Street.
"When he had his hands around my neck, I pulled out my knife and started stabbing him," Lowe testified Wednesday.
Stretton noted that Lowe stayed at the scene and cooperated with police, believing himself to be the victim.
Stretton said case law barred him from introducing Mannings 18 criminal convictions at trial because Lowe wasnt aware of them and most of them were too old, the most recent from 2002. According to court records, Manning was awaiting trial for allegedly knocking out a womans teeth while robbing her two years ago Thursday.
Assistant D.A. Carolyn Naylor argued this week that Lowe had been the aggressor.
Lowe testified that he used a small, quick-open knife to stab Manning after being knocked to the ground and choked during a robbery attempt.
Two Temple University students said Manning was chasing Lowe and trying to hit him with a metal pole before he caught him. Manning then pinned Lowe to the ground, they said.
But both students said they did not see Lowe stab Manning while the two men were on the ground, nor after Manning got up and quickly collapsed from four stab wounds in his neck, thigh and back.
Naylor seized on inconsistencies between the testimonies of Lowe and the students, including where the stabbing took place. She argued that before the students came upon the struggle, Lowe stabbed Manning from behind before both men ended up on the ground.
She noted that two stab wounds were in Mannings back. She also said Lowe showed intent to kill with malice because after Manning fell mortally wounded, Lowe taunted him and even tried to stab him some more.
A retired Marine with medical disabilities now faces possibly the rest of his life (he is 57 with heart conditions and a history of strokes) in prison for killing a career criminal who was attacking him.
This retired Marine should be given the keys to the city for his military service and for fighting back and surviving a criminal attack, and further sparing Philly from any more predations by the now dead thug.
A travesty of justice.
So was he convicted by a jury or not?!? By the sound of it, he either accepted a plea deal (which was stupid) or was convicted in a bench trial (don’t think that can happen on charges that serious, bench trials are usually limited to traffic violations and minor offenses).
"Travesty" doesn't quite cut it in describing the injustice here.
Sounds like Philly is not going to be the place I retire to.....
So wouldn't unanswered questions lead to "reasonable doubt"? It would in my mind.
“A PHILADELPHIA JUDGE”
Answers all the questions.
It reads like it was a bench trial.
So Lowe's blood was up. He's supposed to be all calm and reasonable with a guy who chased him down, tried to beat him with a metal pipe, and was choking him before he stabbed him? If I were in that position and lucky enough to survive, I'd get in a few victory taunts, too. Besides, he can blame the extra stabs on Uncle Sam--it's his training.
This is Philadelphia, controlled by Democrats for over 50 years, where they have out-of-control crime and want to enact their own anti-firearm laws despite a state preemption of such ordinances.
Philadelphia has shown a hostility to anyone other than criminals.
a pox on that court.. what a travesty of justice.
"unanswered questions" == "reasonable doubt"
A judge ought to know that.
That was my first thought.
A terrible judge commits terrible verdicts.
Several years ago, I watched “Court TV” for a couple of months. It literally gave me the chills.
If I were an innocent person, I would be extremely frightened to go before an American Court.
If I were a guilty one, there are few things I would rather have than an American jury.
Judge Lerner’s bio ...
Hon. Benjamin Lerner
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia
Judge Lerner, originally appointed to the Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia County in 1996, was elected to his present term in 1999. In his current position, Judge Lerner is responsible for pre-trial hearings, including motions and scheduling, in all of the courts homicide cases. He also presides over non-jury homicide trials, degree of guilt hearings and decertification hearings. Immediately prior to coming to the bench, Judge Lerner was Of Counsel at the law firm of Dilworth, Paxson, LLP in Philadelphia where he concentrated his practice on litigation, with emphasis on white collar criminal defense and trial of complex civil cases in both federal and state courts. From 1975 through 1990, Judge Lerner served as Chief Defender of the Defender Association of Philadelphia. In that capacity, Judge Lerner represented criminal and juvenile defendants as well as child advocacy and mental health cases. From 1973 until 1975 Judge Lerner served as the Deputy Attorney General in the Pennsylvania Department of Justices Office of Criminal Law. Judge Lerner also clerked for the Honorable Stanley A. Weigel from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco immediately upon graduating from law school. A member of the Pennsylvania Criminal Procedure Rules Committee (1977-1986), the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (1980-1986), President of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (1983-1985), and the Philadelphia Bar Association Commission on Judicial Selection, Retention and Evaluation (1977-1990), Judge Lerner also spent time teaching Trial Advocacy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. A recipient of numerous awards and honors including: the Philadelphia Bar Foundation Honorable Gerald F. Flood Memorial Award for distinguished Service to the Profession (1978); the Clara Shortridge Foltz Award for excellence in providing indigent defense services (1987); inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (October 1990) and the John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism Award (1990), Judge Lerner received his B.A., cum laude, from Brandeis University (1962) and his LL.B., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School (1965).
Is he somehow immune from the 6th Ammendment of the US Constitution, which states:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence
This DA needs to be stuffed through a hole in the ice.You're being too kind. I would say burnt at at a stake. On a low, slow, flame.
Judge Lerners bio ...
Hon. Benjamin Lerner
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia
There, fixed it.
A travesty perpetrated on a Marine hero by a kangaroo court.
Virtually every jurisdiction allows a defendant to voluntarily waive trial by jury and have the case tried before the Judge, who will decide guilt or innocence. That's almost certainly what happened here and it was a foolish move. Most attorneys consider a bench trial nothing more than a long drawn out guilty plea. I would never advise a client to waive jury on a major felony.
Regretably, Philly is filled with black criminals, and they get to elect the Mayor and other officials. Pretty much all of the whites have moved out to the suburbs long since.
So with all these "unanswered questions," the judge found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?
His lawyer - if he had one - sucked hard. There is plenty of case law justifying higher uses of force than your attacker/assailant under the concept of “disparity of force”. This guy had disparity of force arguments in spades.
Attack on a victim by several people.
Attack on a disabled victim.
Attack on an elderly victim.
Attack with club-type object.
Attacker on top of, choking victim.
This should have been a slam dunk for a competent attorney.
When disparity of force exists and you are in a life-threatening/fearing permanent harm situation, you are able to use higher levels of force than your attackers BECAUSE you are going up against them with at least one signficant disadvantage that makes the situation far more deadly/injurious to you.
I reread the article and the other problem is he chose to have one judge hear the trial and give a verdict rather than a jury trial. He’ll have to appeal this now, hopefully they had that ready to go, and are putting up a stay of the sentencing until they get an appeal verdict.
Yes, it sounded to me like no jury, a bench trial. Seems like he might have done better with a jury. Perhaps he can appeal on the incompetent defense attorney for not insisting on a jury trial.
Wondering if the defense atty convinced him to go to bench trial since it was a slam dunk (or should have been considering what I’m reading)? This is very frightening.
The judge needs to be beaten until he requires the use of a wheelchair. Then he needs to be rolled into the center of Philidelphia and left there. Just to show that we’re not completely merciless, we’ll give him a steak knife.
Blame the lawyer for having the “faith” to take it to the Judge. Judges run for election in many states. They fear letting criminals walk. Hopefully, the voters will punish him for making a good man into a criminal.
Clearly there was reasonable doubt as the JUDGE said so!
Immediate appeal is warranted and the conviction over-turned based upon the judges comment.
Hmm. . .perhaps the judge did the Corely thing, convicted because the Marine was White and the thug killed was Black? (I admit, I did not read the article).
Just a thought.
“give an individual the right to use deadly force in self-defense anywhere in which a person has a legal right to be”
That should be AFFIRM the right. The right ALREADY exists.
If the circumstances are impenetrably vague to the court as claimed, the judge is supposed to acquit. Normally judges know better, and that is why suspects who know they are innocent are often advised to ask for a bench trial.
A horrible miscarriage of justice but considering it’s Philly not very surprising. I’ve had to go there a few times on business but fortunately not recently. A lib Democrap run cesspool.
A mistake that no American should ever make.
Someone didn’t fill him in with the program for the protocol after you, John Q. Citizen fell a criminal intruder. Don’t ever, ever taunt! As for this attempted to stab, how that no stabbing happened given the victim, er intruder, was lying there inert? Maybe the gentleman made gestures as if to stab more, but never touched again with the knife? I could excuse a few crude comments and gestures at this juncture.
It sounds like lousy application of law and good appellate fodder. But I’m only a peanut in the gallery.
Any freedom loving patriot would vacate areas/states like this. Nothing good will come from staying.
We are in very deep trouble in this country when travesty’s like this occur. Just yesterday I read an article about our President awarding the Medal of Freedom to an avowed socialist and now I get to read about a great American being jailed for killing a career criminal that attacked him.
I mustered out of the Air Force at Maguire AFB, NJ in 1976. Me, my wife, and newborn son, rode by bus from Maguire to Philadelphia airport to catch a Delta L1011 to Atlanta.
I remember the look on my wife’s face as we rode southward. The worst looking shithole countryside (blight if you aks me) ever seen - all the way to Philly. They can keep that garbage dump. Never been back for anything but work. Never will.
Pray, pray, pray. The choices ahead seem pretty much to comprise abysmal and not-quite-so-lousy. But the Lord can open up other doors.
Kentucky police department?
Oh, keep your powder dry.
I agree with you in the hope that Prayer will open up doors. I say Pray and PREPARE.
WTF was this poor guys lawyer? The prosecution?
He needs a lawyer, not what ever was posing as a lawyer (did he/she at least stay at a holiday inn express?) to file an appeal ASAP.
Not only is this case extremely bad for the Marine, watch for it to be used in other cases (Zimmerman?)
I grew up in Minnesota... I go with what I know... ;-)
The guy convicted was disabled and in a wheel chair while his attacker (Manning) had 18 convictions including several for violent assault. Manning was also awaiting trial for assault as he knocked out a woman’s two front teeth while he was robbing her.
Bad move by the defense attorney.
Hey, it’s Philadelphia. Felons are an important Democrat constituency.
was this another black attacking a white and the white fighting back?....the shame of it all...
[ The guy convicted was disabled and in a wheel chair while his attacker (Manning) had 18 convictions including several for violent assault. Manning was also awaiting trial for assault as he knocked out a womans two front teeth while he was robbing her. ]
This is getting ridiculous, the Marine was in a damned wheelchair and only stabbed the guy AFTER he was being CHOKED to DEATH!!!! I guess he should have just become a “victim” and died passively with another mans hands around his “leather neck”.
The guy who strangled him was TRYING TO KILL HIM!!!!!!
If the strangler was trying to get away he could have easy outran ther guy inthe wheel chair. Plus the strangler had a pattern of PAST criminal activity and assault.
This calls for a Pardon from our POTUS, if we actually had a REAL POTUS.
“When there is a a Multitude of Dumb Laws, there is an Absence of Justice!”
it seems to me that being attacked, period, is the CRIME here, not the defense of oneself....
but remember folks...remember, support bamey and holder....we need more of this, dontchaknow...
There are pros and cons to each. As a judge generally has to document the reasons for finding as he/she does, there’s something more substantial to take to the appellate level than the gut sense of a jury. Juries today aren’t wise, aware, bright people as of old. They are the next evolutionary step over mushroom farms.