CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Judge Daniel Hall sentenced a Charlotte man to 30 years in prison for the brutal beating, kidnapping, and robbery of a Clover family during July 2016.
Jermain Lowery, 25, pleaded guilty to the burglary in the first degree, possession of a weapon in the commission of a violent crime, criminal conspiracy, four counts of kidnapping, and armed robbery on Oct. 31, 2017.
Thursday he appeared in court for sentencing. Due to the burglary in the first degree, Lowery was could have faced 15 years to life in prison for the crimes.
Three of the four victims in the case came to Lowery's sentencing hearing. Assistant Solicitor Matthew Shelton told the court that the fourth victim did not want to appear or be notified of any court proceedings.
"Will from the beginning has not wanted to participate in this, I believe because of fear of retaliation," Shelton said.
Shelton asked the judge to consider sentencing Lowery to a higher amount of time because of the seriousness of the case.
"It's something that reflects the very serious nature of the crime that occurred," Shelton said. "The terror that Lowery and his two friends inflicted on this family."
It happened in the middle of the day on July 11, 2016. The prosecutors say Lowery and his two friends were dropped off in a residential neighborhood of Clover, S.C. and cut through yards until they got to the victim's house.
Timothy Parker, a victim, was 17 at the time of the attack. Investigators say he was at home recovering from having his wisdom teeth taken out. His mother Dawn Parker was home taking care of him.
The prosecution told the court that Lowery and his two friends were wearing black bandanas over their face below the eyes. In his guilty plea, Lowery admitted that they got inside the Parkers' home by shattering the glass door at the back of the house.
Investigators say they immediately went to Timothy and started beating him on his head.
"They were asking where's it at, where's the weed? So clearly they thought they were knocking off a drug house," Shelton said.
Shelton later told the court that Timothy Parker had mentioned to a coworker that he was going to buy marijuana. Investigators believe the coworker, who knew of Lowery, pointed the suspects to the Parkers home, thinking that Timothy was a drug dealer.
"They could have left. When they realized it wasn't going as planned they could have left, they broke into this family's house with guns. They had every opportunity to leave, to change their minds. But they didn't. They stayed there for over an hour and a half and terrorized this family," Shelton said.
"His mom Dawn came into the living room from the back of the house and threw herself on Timothy," Shelton said.
Prosecutors say the suspects then turned their attention to Dawn, tied her up and put her in a closet. Then they brought Timothy to his bedroom and continued beating him.
"There were blood droppings everywhere," Shelton said. "Timothy later said he thought they were going to kill him."
After about a half hour into the attack, Danny Parker and his co-worker William came to the home to check on Timothy after he had surgery.
Danny walked in and investigators say Lowery was waiting for him behind the door. The two men fought each other, Danny broke his finger in the fight but did not know it at the time. He was then tied up.
William entered the home last, investigators say he immediately dropped to his knees, gave the suspects his phone and cooperated with them. They say he was tied up and put in a bathtub. Timothy was then put in that same bathtub and a blanket was put over them.
At one point, Danny was able to get away and grabbed one of his pistols to try to defend his family. Lowery's codefendant Jarnelle Ervin allegedly pointed a gun to Danny's head and convinced him to drop the weapon.
Lowery then ejected one of the bullets from Danny's weapon. It was later found by investigators and placed into evidence.
Later, Timothy and Danny were placed face down in the living room, still tied up. The prosecution says Lowery and Ervin put guns to the back of their heads.
"They were beating them with the guns in the back of the head, you can see they have injuries to the back of their heads and blood flowing down their face," Shelton said. "Mind you Dawn is in the closet tied up, from here to the counselor's table, she could hear all of this going on. They taunted Danny asking if he'd ever seen anyone's brains blown out as they had a gun to his son's head."
Shelton told the court that two stains from the pools of blood can still be seen in the Parker's living room.
After the more than hour and a half of abuse, the prosecution says Lowery and his friends stole two gaming systems, a TV, cellphone, several hundred dollars, guns and other valuables from the home.
The prosecution said pictures of the stolen guns were found on Lowery's cellphone, he apparently sent the picture to some of the contacts in his phone to try to sell the weapon. They say his fingerprints were also found on a TV still in the Parker's home. The Parkers say they saw him trying to steal it without wearing gloves.
When officers went to arrest Lowery at his relatives' house, they found a gaming console that was still signed into Timothy Parker's account. They say a sub-account was made in the name of Jermain Lowery.
Dawn Parker spoke to the court, saying her life will never be the same. Danny Parker says they stay inside, with the house barricaded out of fear.
"He robbed me of all my humanity that day, because I can't be that person, I can't open my arms to anybody anymore," Dawn said.
Lowery had three previous convictions in Charlotte for robbery, breaking and entering and possession of burglary tools. Prosecutors say he violated his probation for the robbery charge 4 times. This incident would mark the fifth violation of his probation.
"He was a monster in my home, he enjoyed what he did. The longer they were there the more he got off on it, his eyes got big and he enjoyed terrorizing my family. This is not something to slap on the wrist like Charlotte Mecklenburg has down so many times, he's going to kill somebody and he's going to smile and laugh at them too," Dawn Parker said.
Lowery's mother, grandmother, sister and aunt also testified in court. His family apologized to the Parker family, said they were disappointed with Lowery, but also asked the judge to consider a shorter sentence.
Lowery apologized to the Parker family and his own family.
Judge Hall sentenced him to 30 years in prison.