Putnam man gets life for murder, will testify against girlfriend


Published: Friday, January 30, 2009 at 3:53 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 30, 2009 at 3:53 p.m.

A Putnam County man has been sentenced to life in prison for his part in the murder of a disabled Melrose man.

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Toby Lowry, left, and Morgan Leppert

PUTNAM COUNTY JAIL

In a plea deal, Toby Lee Lowry, 23, of Putnam County, was sentenced to three life sentences Friday morning after pleading guilty to murder, burglary and robbery in the slaying of James Thomas Stewart, 66.

Stewart who had physical disabilities that included being hard of hearing, was robbed of his pickup truck and cash and murdered the evening of April 25, 2008. An autopsy showed he died of suffocation, but also had been beaten and stabbed. Prosecutors said he was apparently targeted because of his physical limitations, which would have made him easier to overpower than many other adults.

Now that Lowry has been sentenced, he is expected to testify against his teenage co-defendant - his former girlfriend, Morgan Amanda Leppert, 16.

During Lowry’s sentencing on Friday morning, 7th Judicial Circuit Assistant State Attorney Chris France said Stewart’s relatives did not speak, but Lowry told the court, “For what it’s worth, I’m truly sorry for what I did.”

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