PARIS — A daylong hearing in a bid to overturn two manslaughter convictions against 21-year-old Kristina Lowe of Oxford will begin Thursday morning in Oxford County Superior Court.

Active-Retired Justice Robert Clifford is expected to rule on the defense’s motion to acquit Lowe of all charges, declare a mistrial or order a new trial in the case.

In May, Lowe was convicted of two counts of manslaughter and one count of leaving the scene of an accident in the high-speed crash that killed West Paris teenagers Logan Dam, 19, and Rebecca Mason, 16, in January 2012.

She faces up to 30 years each on the manslaughter charges and another five years on the remaining conviction. A sentencing date has not be scheduled.

Defense attorney James Howaniec maintained the convictions were inconsistent as prosecutors failed to prove Lowe was either impaired or driving and texting the instant before the 2002 Subaru Impreza went off Route 219 into a stand of trees.

Howaniec suggested ice on the road may have caused the car to spin out of control, and has requested dispatchers’ tapes from emergency providers as part of new evidence expected to be presented. 

Part of the defense’s argument questions apparent ambiguities in testimony from Kristina’s estranged father, Earl Lowe.

Two weeks ago, Maine State Police Detective Lauren Edstrom told defense attorney Chelsea Peters that she was alone in a hospital room interviewing Kristina Lowe five hours after the crash. 

Edstrom testified that she did not see or speak to Earl Lowe prior to interviewing Kristina Lowe. 

Edstrom’s testimony appears to contradict parts of testimony Earl Lowe gave during the trial that his daughter told him, in front of Edstrom, that she had been texting and driving prior to the crash. 

Lowe had been attending a party in West Paris where alcohol was furnished to minors and was allegedly returning from a trip to purchase more alcohol when the fatal accident occurred. Witnesses at the trial testified Lowe appeared drunk upon arriving at the party, and reportedly consumed more alcohol during the party. 

A blood test taken several hours after the accident showed Lowe’s the alcohol content was .04 percent, lower than the legal limit of .08 percent. She also tested positive for marijuana.

Prosecutors presented numerous witnesses who testified Lowe, then 19, left a party with Dam, Mason, and 24-year old Jacob Skaff of Paris.

After the crash, Lowe and Skaff left the scene of the accident, walking a mile back to the party.

Both Edstrom and Earl Lowe testified that Kristina told them she received a text message; Skaff testified Kristina looked down at the sound of an incoming text, which was when the car began to drift.

Police calculated the crash took place at 12:15 a.m. Jan. 7, minutes after a clerk at The Big Apple store in West Paris testified Skaff bought six cans of Four Loko alcoholic beverage and Lowe paid for $5 worth of gas. The text message Lowe received was time-stamped on her phone at 12:11 a.m.

Assistant District Attorney Richard Beauchesne wrote that the jury’s conviction should be upheld because Lowe’s actions on the night of the crash, the culmination of drinking, speeding and texting, were a gross deviation from what a responsible person would be doing.

Beauchesne said a legal precedent for manslaughter convictions exists in cases in which a driver is distracted while driving slightly over the speed limit.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. at the courthouse on Western Avenue in South Paris.


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