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Jury selection underway in murder trial

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

JONESBORO — The defendant in a murder trial plans to take the stand and testify that he acted in self-defense when he shot his former live-in girlfriend, said his attorney Monday morning.

George O. Lawson Jr. told Clayton County Superior Court Judge Geronda Carter that Herbert Lowe maintains he acted in self-defense when he shot Lisa Marie Davis in January 2013.

Lowe will tell his story to jurors, said Lawson.

Lawson wants to introduce evidence of a conversation Davis had with a niece about her philosophy toward gun ownership.

"She had a conversation with this niece about guns," said Lawson. "She took the niece to the shooting range because she wanted her to be familiar and knowledgeable about firearms. The niece gave a statement that Davis told her to never pull a gun on someone unless you intend to use it."

Lawson said Lowe and Davis lived together four years and knew each for 10 years at the time of the shooting. Lowe knew Davis' expertise with firearms, said Lawson.

"He knew of her knowledge of firearms and of her intent to not pull a gun unless she planned to use it," he said. "She was experienced."

Clayton County Executive Assistant District Attorney Kathryn Powers said she didn't object to the testimony. Carter said she would reserve ruling on the defense motion.

Carter did grant the state's motion to keep out Lowe's statement to police that he acted in self-defense. Powers argued the statement was self-serving and she didn't intend to introduce it or the two police detectives Lowe talked to.

Lowe, 61, of Forest Park is being held without bond in Clayton County Jail on charges of malice and felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Police said he shot Davis inside her Forest Park home Jan. 29, 2013.

He is also charged with aggravated assault and false imprisonment against Velinsa Bell Johnson. Johnson is expected to testify.

Powers asked Carter to drop a charge of concealing a death because the indictment was drawn up improperly and because she didn't believe the state could prove that Lowe tried to conceal the death.

According to her obituary, Davis opened Destinee Travel in 2004, after working more than 20 years in marketing and promotion for Coca-Cola Co.

She was also an avid tennis player who was a member of the Clayton County Tennis Team, the U.S. Tennis Association and the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association.

About 11:45 a.m., Carter called 44 prospective jurors to her courtroom to begin the selection process, which is expected to take all afternoon.