PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – It was an accident, not murder.
That’s what criminal defense attorney Wayne Mackeson told Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Jerry B. Hodson on Monday during opening statements of his client’s murder trial.
Jennifer Lowery is charged with one count of murder, DUII, reckless driving and failing to perform the duties of a driver.
Mackeson contends that Lowery’s husband, Mark, was intoxicated when he backed into a Ford 350 that was being driven in reverse by Lowery.
The crash happened March 16, 2016 in Gresham outside the Division Street Pub.
The state’s theory on what happened shortly after the bar closed is much different.
Deputy district attorney Shawn Overstreet told Hodson that the Lowery’s were in a struggling relationship.
“To say the least, it was a tumultuous relationship,” Overstreet said during his opening statements.
Hodson will make a decision on Lowery’s guilt or innocence. She waived her right to a 12 person jury. The trial is scheduled to run through March 30.
According to court documents, Mark and Jennifer Lowery were at the Division Street Pub drinking when they received a phone call around 2:30 a.m. for help. That call came from the Lowery’s son. He was in a vehicle that had been stopped by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and the deputy had asked that he call his parents for a ride.
Lowery reportedly wanted to go pick her son up, but Mark, according to Mackeson, wanted his son and friends to “figure it out themselves.”
Mark left the bar and got inside his vehicle. His wife and the bartender asked him not to drive.
According to court documents, Lowery eventually got inside the Ford F350 once Mark had exited the vehicle. She drove the truck out of the parking lot to the east and turned south on Hogan Place. The truck can be seen on video as it exits the parking lot and heads south.
The Ford passed by Mark as he stood next to Hogan Place and came to a stop before Division Street. Mark then entered the roadway in the southbound lane of Hogan Place and stopped before the centerline. The Ford, driven by Lowery, then reversed and backed into Mark, knocking him to the ground.
An autopsy revealed that one of the truck’s tires crushed Mark’s chest, breaking his ribs and piercing his heart, according to court documents.
After Mark was hit, Lowery drove the Ford pickup forward and made a left onto Hogan Drive before turning into a business parking lot and back onto Hogan Place. The truck comes to a stop near Mark’s body before going around his body and turning back into the parking lot for the pub.
Lowery exited the vehicle and ran to the bar and asked for assistance, according to court documents.
Overstreet said in court that Lowery knew that Mark had been cheating on her and that she had expressed her displeasure.
Six days prior, according to Overstreet’s opening statements, Lowery sent her husband a text message that talked about how their relationship would be ending.
“Love is dead,” the text message said.
Mackeson, however, described the couple as “high school sweethearts” as they sat in the bar. He said the couple spent about 4.5 hours in the bar and that the bartender described the couple as “lovey dovey.”