A superior court judge gave a man he described as a “career criminal” a compromise sentence of 24 years in state prison today, May 18.
Probation officers had suggested that a term of 36 years to life was appropriate for Kenny Allen Lowary, now 40, who already had two “strike” convictions on his record when he was convicted of his third residential burglary two months ago, at the conclusion of a trial in March.
Judge Richard Monroy concurred with statements made by the defense attorney when he told Lowary, “I agree that you are not a violent person.” And the judge chose to set aside consideration of Lowary’s first felony conviction, this judicial move is known as “striking the strike” in legal slang.
“The district attorney is right, I started at a young age,” Lowary said to the judge before his sentence was announced. “A career criminal. Being through all that and everything, I never got a chance to learn the coping skills of living a normal life. I started to learn that when I got out and I got married. I always have asked for help. And I am very sorry for everything that I have put Mrs. Russo through. Sorry. Sorry. That’s it.”
Prosecutor Landy Spencer-Daly asked for a greater sentence. She told the judge that Lowary first entered the justice system at the age of 13, when he committed vandalism and graffiti. Lowary was using meth at 14, and by 16 years of age he was committing auto thefts, the prosecutor said.
When Lowary was in his early 20s he was part of a crew that entered homes and stole goods and cars from those homes; the prosecutor gave the example of a time when the homeowner came out at 5 a.m. and found Lowary under his Christmas tree with a woman’s purse in his hands.
The prosecutor protested that Lowary had a chance to reform when he got out of prison, but instead he got caught with the materials to make counterfeit money and a loaded gun. And while Lowary was out on bail in that case, he committed his most recent burglary, in August 2013, the prosecutor said.
Lowary admitted using heroin that same morning that he was caught burglarizing a home in Carlsbad, and the prosecutor wondered aloud what would have happened if the elderly lady victim had walked into her home while the burglar was still in there. The prosecutor declared “the potential for danger in that is extremely high.”
Judge Monroy counted up Lowary’s actual days in custody, 609, adding 608 days’ credit for “good behavior” and concluded the felon had 1217 days’ total custody credit so far.