Jurors Confirm Former Soldier’s Death as Suicide, His Mother Not Convinced

SC Inquest Jury Agrees With Suicide Ruling

by Jeffrey Collins
Associated Press, April 13, 2012

CHESTERFIELD, S.C. — Jurors at a rare coroner’s inquest in Chesterfield County agreed Thursday with investigators who ruled that a 34-year-old Army veteran committed suicide in his home last November.

Six jurors heard less than an hour of testimony and deliberated about 15 minutes. Investigators told them gunshot residue was found on Tyson “Lane” Lowery’s right hand, the autopsy determined he was shot in the head by a gun placed against the right side of the head.

Tyson Lane Lowery, 34-year-old former soldier found with gunshot wound to his head last year. Suicide note was found.

A note threatening suicide that was found at his estranged wife’s hair salon also was read into evidence after the jury was told it matched Lowery’s handwriting.

But Lowery’s mother, who hasn’t accepted the suicide ruling, said she expected the verdict.

She noted that Darlington County Coroner J. Todd Hardee, who presided at the hearing, never called anyone to testify who ran into Lowery the day he died except for those who were in his wife’s hair salon on that Nov. 18.

She said he was on the phone with her making plans for her to babysit his two children and made a date to play golf with a friend as he ate breakfast at a restaurant.

“I expected this dog-and-pony show. There was nothing interjected from anyone outside the official circle here in the county,” Brenda Cranford said.

Lowery’s estranged wife, Jennifer, refused to talk to a reporter after the hearing.

Only a few coroner’s inquests occur each year in South Carolina. Evidence is presented to the jury, but rules on what can be presented are looser than in a criminal trial.

Jennifer Lowery testified her husband came to her hair salon the day he died. Even though they were divorcing, he often stopped in because he ran an exterminating business from her salon.

A shop customer said Lane Lowery was cordial before sitting down and starting to write. He left the paper in the shop when he left. Jennifer Lowery testified she read just the first line: “No wake, no funeral. Cremation only.”

She said she didn’t think anything of it until she got a call from Lane Lowery threatening to kill himself. A Chesterfield County deputy was in the shop getting his hair cut and agreed to drive her to her husband’s home to check on him.

Lowery said she called her husband as they drove and finally got him on the line.

“I was begging him not to do this to his children. And the only thing he said to me was ‘look what I have already done to them.’ And he hung up,” Jennifer Lowery said.

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