She's supporting the man who killed her attacker

"Gia," a North Philadelphia woman who lost seven teeth during a robbery in May 2010, says a judge should go easy on Jonathan Lowe, who was convicted of killing lifelong criminal Loren Manning Jr.
"Gia," a North Philadelphia woman who lost seven teeth during a robbery in May 2010, says a judge should go easy on Jonathan Lowe, who was convicted of killing lifelong criminal Loren Manning Jr. (DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: August 16, 2012

W HEN "GIA" heard that the man who allegedly knocked seven teeth out of her mouth during a May 2010 robbery had been killed while attacking another victim, she felt "he deserved what he got."

"I don't like the fact that he's dead because I wanted my day in court with him," the 50-year-old North Philadelphia woman, who asked that her real name not be used, said of lifelong criminal Loren Manning Jr.

"I wanted him to stand there and be accused on the crime that he did to me. And I wanted him to pay for it. Eyeball to eyeball. That's what I wanted."

Gia was even more upset, however, to hear that Jonathan Lowe had been convicted of voluntary manslaughter in May for Manning's Oct. 1, 2011, death.

Gia hopes that Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner shows leniency to Lowe, a former Marine who said at trial that he killed Manning in self-defense.

Lerner is scheduled to sentence Lowe on Thursday. The maximum sentence he can receive is 12 1/2 to 25 years in state prison.

Gia said she has no doubt that Manning was the aggressor, given how he attacked her without mercy or provocation.

Manning was arrested about a month after allegedly attacking her on May 31, 2010, after Gia picked his picture from an array shown to her by police.

He was charged with aggravated assault, robbery and related offenses and spent 13 months in jail before posting bail, court records indicate. He was awaiting trial when he was killed.

Gia hopes Lerner reads Manning's rap sheet - he had been convicted 18 times in his 51 years - and looks at his pile of mug shots before sentencing Lowe.

"What I can't believe is, here we have a person who served our country in the United States Marines. He was taught to fight in defense," she said of Lowe.

"Here we have a guy who is a career criminal, who is taught to victimize," she said of Manning. "OK, the tables got turned. Mr. Lowe did what he was trained to do."

Lowe, 57, who wears a pacemaker and has survived two strokes and two heart surgeries in recent years, testified that he used his knife in self-defense after being tackled by Manning at Cecil B. Moore Avenue and Bouvier Street. Lowe stabbed Manning in the neck, back and thigh, and he died within minutes.

Assistant District Attorney Carolyn Naylor argued at trial that Lowe had been the aggressor.

The voluntary-manslaughter conviction means that Lowe committed the stabbing under provocation but that his actions were unreasonable, or imperfect self-defense, Lerner said after finding Lowe guilty in the nonjury trial.

Defense attorney Samuel C. Stretton said he would ask that Lowe be sentenced to the time he has served since being arrested the night of the incident.

"I think it's very clear from the evidence he was the victim of a robbery attempt. Two witnesses testified that he was trying to run away," Stretton said, referring to the Temple University students who told Lerner that they saw Manning chasing Lowe with a metal pole in the moments before Manning collapsed.

But Manning's relatives, who attended each day of Lowe's trial, said they want justice, too. Justice for Manning, whom they called Junior.

His oldest of 16 siblings, Barbara Williams, 55, said he struggled with "those demon drugs" but he was a good man who helped her raise their 15 younger siblings when their parents died.

"This man changed our lives," she said of Lowe, who she insisted knew her brother and harbored bad blood for him.

"He took somebody that was valuable to me. He took somebody that cannot be given back. I do not think it's fair to kill him like that," said Williams, who recalled how Manning cared for and taught her 10-year-old son with Down syndrome how to use the restroom.

Lowe, she said, should do real time.

"If he gets 25 years, I'm satisfied with that," she said. "If he could get life, I'm satisfied with that."


Contact Mensah M. Dean at 215-568-8278 or deanm@ philly.com. Follow him on Twitter @mensahdean.

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