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Cape victim’s wife takes stand

By Staff | Feb 27, 2009

Tanya Lowell told seven jurors, who hold the fate of her husband’s accused killer, about the last time she saw him on the evening of June 21, 2007 — he gave her a rose and made dinner plans with her for the following evening. It was their son’s 12th birthday.
William Lowell, 36, and his wife of nearly 15 years had been recently separated due to financial problems and personal disagreements. He was the only one residing at their home, located at 2716 N.E. First St., when police discovered his body riddled with knife wounds on June 22, 2007, she testified Thursday.
Lowell and Tanya, who had three children together, ages 6, 9 and 12, were trying to salvage their relationship prior to his slaying. Lowell had given her a rose every day since their separation, Tanya told jurors.
“We were trying to get back together, work things out,” she said.
The Lowells never got the chance to rekindle their relationship.
Ronnie Perez, 26, allegedly fatally stabbed Lowell in his house, hitched a ride home with his then-girlfriend Ana Luisa Munoz, took a shower and drove with parents Jose Serrano and Lisneidy Lozano to turn himself in to police in the early morning hours of June 22, 2007.
Thursday was the fourth day of Perez’s trial before Lee Circuit Judge Edward Volz, during which jurors are asked to decide whether he is guilty of second-degree murder in Lowell’s death. If convicted, he faces a life sentence.
Perez initially told officers he thought Lowell had a gun during a confrontation in Lowell’s garage, at which point he stabbed Lowell, possibly killing him.
Testimony so far has revealed the only guns Lowell kept in his home were a broken airgun sitting on a workbench in the garage and a pellet rifle atop a refrigerator.
Police and medical experts testified Lowell had been stabbed and cut a total of 33 times on his head, chest, neck, arms, legs, lungs and heart, along with multiple other bruises and lacerations. Perez had suffered a cut on his foot and bite marks on his thumb from the altercation.
Lowell died a result of stab wounds into his heart and left lung, according to District 21 Chief Medical Examiner Rebecca Hamilton, who performed the autopsy on his body.
“These wounds were specifically detrimental to his life,” she testified.
Additionally, he had “defensive wounds” on the fingers of his right hand, indicating Lowell had attempted to defend himself against an oncoming attack, she said.
Hamilton drew blood from Lowell, which was tested.
It was determined Lowell had a blood alcohol content of .96 and had used marijuana and cocaine prior to his death, defense attorney Lee Hollander told Volz outside the presence of the jury.
The information was not testified to Thursday in the presence of the jury.
Perez’s bloody fingerprints were found on doorknobs and a washing machine in Lowell’s home, and Lowell’s body along with several items appeared to have been moved inside the garage, said forensic specialist Elizabeth Lansky.
DNA testing revealed Perez’s and Lowell’s blood was found on several items in their homes, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab analyst Kimberly Sutton.
Perez’s blood was found on a computer tower in Lowell’s living room, and a bloody footprint in Lowell’s master bedroom also belonged to Perez, Sutton said.
Lowell’s blood was found on the computer tower as well, and also on a shower curtain liner in Perez’s home.
Hollander motioned that Perez be acquitted of the accused murder after the state rested its case against him, stating it lacks the evidence to prove Perez had a depraved mind, ill will, hatred, spite or malice during the time of Lowell’s slaying.
“The state has a completely circumstantial case,” he argued.
Assistant State Attorney Ed Ferguson said not only did Perez lack defensive wounds, the act of stabbing Lowell 33 times “indicates an indifference to human life itself.”
Volz denied Hollander’s motion to acquit.
Perez is anticipated to take the witness stand today in his own defense.
The trial resumes at 8:30 a.m.