Judge Finds Probable Cause for Second-Degree Murder Suspect

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DC Superior Court Judge Anthony Epstein ruled that the prosecution’s evidence showed a defendant was the probable perpetrator in a homicide case, during a June 18 hearing.

Robert Lowe, 40, is charged with second-degree murder while armed for his alleged involvement in the fatal shooting of Kenneth Goins, 43, during a bar fight on the 1300 block of U Street, NW on April 27. He was arrested on May 20. 

During the hearing, the prosecution called a detective from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to testify on his involvement in the investigation, which ultimately led to Lowe’s arrest. 

According to the detective, witnesses told MPD Lowe initiated a fight with Goins at a bar, and they ended up on the floor. Multiple gunshots were then heard and the victim died on the scene. 

Metropolitan police officers later conducted a double blind photo array–neither party knowing which is a suspect–with a witness, who identified Lowe as the one involved in the fight with Goins. 

Lowe’s defense attorney, Lisbeth Sapirstein, questioned MPD’s knowledge of a backpack recovered at the scene.

According to Sapirstein, a backpack, which included a revolver, marijuana, “white powder”, and pills, was located shortly after the incident. She questioned how MPD identified its owner, arguing it was difficult to prove to whom it belonged.

According to court documents, the revolver, found in the backpack, had a missing bullet, with a leftover casing. Saperstein questioned when the gun was fired, what that specific bullet hit, and if the shot could have come from Lowe.

She argued that when a revolver is fired, the casing of the bullet is not expelled from the firearm like in a semi-automatic handgun, which would explain why no casings were recovered from the scene. 

Saperstein wondered how Lowe could have shot Goins, if he was on the floor under Goins and a friend, who joined the fight as Lowe and Goins tussled.

According to the detective, a witness, who was identified as the bar’s bouncer, told MPD the situation “was crazy, I never saw a gun, I patted him down”, when talking about the suspect. 

However, an eyewitness told MPD they saw Lowe stand up and allegedly fire a revolver-like gun. 

According to the detective, other witnesses confirmed they didn’t see a gun or watch the shooting, but stated they heard shots fired as Lowe and Goins were tussling on the ground. 

Judge Epstein concluded that he found the evidence to be suggestive that Lowe was the initial provocateur, he was the shooter, and there was no indication of self-defense for Lowe.

Parties will reconvene on Feb. 14, 2025. 

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