LIVINGSTON COUNTY – District Attorney Greg McCaffrey concluded his portion of a persistent felony offender status hearing on Thursday for one of the most infamous men in Livingston County, a convicted rapist and quadruple convicted felon who is one of three men to escape from the Livingston County Jail on the night that a corrections officer suffered a life-threatening head injury.
DA McCaffrey brought former Sheriff John York to testify and submitted copies of court documents into evidence that Jeffrey Lowery, 57, was convicted of Assault in the Second Degree, Escape in the First Degree, Conspiracy in the Second Degree, Possession of Prison Contraband in the First Degree, and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in connection to the violent January 1986 escape from the jail in which a Sheriff’s Deputy was severely injured and Lowery was passenger in a stolen car which collided with a police barricade at over 100 mph.
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“The Deputy was beaten so severely, I couldn’t even recognize him,” said former Sheriff York, who was a Major at the jail at the time. “I was informed by corrections staff as to who the Deputy was. I served the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office for 45 years. For a corrections officer to be beaten so severely by three inmates he only ever tried to help will never be erased from my mind.”
Lowery was found guilty of a Sex Offender Registration Act violation, an E felony, in January 2014 at a jury trial for failing to update his photo with the Sheriff’s Office every 30 days. DA McCaffrey is seeking persistent felony offender status for the sentence of this conviction, meaning that he needs to prove to Judge Cohen that Lowery has been previously convicted of at least two felonies, and that his history and character makes it in the public’s best interest that he be sentenced to a minimum of 15 to 25 years and a maximum of life in prison.
DA McCaffrey also submitted copies of records indicating that Lowery has been committing crimes during his many years in prison. According to DA McCaffrey’s paperwork, since 1977, Lowery has been out of prison a total of 5 years, and committed numerous contraband, rioting, tattooing, and fighting offenses while incarcerated.
Lowery’s Attorney, Larry Kasperek, objected to the entry of each copy of court documents, saying that their authenticity could not be verified, they were unsubstantiated secondary hearsay, and that in some cases records and reports were incomplete and it was unclear who had written them. Each time, Judge Dennis Cohen noted Kasperek’s objection but overruled and received the documents into evidence.
“All circumstances have explanations or mitigations,” said Kasperek. “No one is trying to change what happened years ago. […] Our contention is to demonstrate to the court the difference between what was and what is.”
Kasperek will deliver his portion of the hearing next week. He indicated that he intends to bring two Dansville police officers and a NYS Parole Officer to the stand.
Lowery was found guilty of Rape in the First Degree at a jury trial in 1977 presided over by Judge Robert Houston for raping a 19 year old female college student, but Kasperek said that he plans to present evidence that the sentence imposed at the time was illegal.
Lowery beat a charge of Attempted Murder but was found guilty of two counts of Assault in the Second Degree, Escape in the First Degree, Conspiracy in the Second Degree, Possession of Prison Contraband in the First Degree, and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property at a 1987 trial presided over by Judge Ronald Cicoria and prosecuted by DA Theodore Wiggins.