Previous story: Talon Lowery wanted attention, prosecutors said.
His attempts, all captured on video, included punching a woman in a Gainesville Walmart and shooting a cow.
On Nov. 2, 2017, Lowery, 19, drove through the Cleveland Highway Texaco gas station repeatedly “hunting for somebody for his next great video,” Assistant District Attorney Harold Buckler said.
“You’re going to see a pattern of him coming down from White County, going somewhere else, doing something horrible, filming it, recording it, putting it out there for his friends and still getting away with it,” Buckler said. “He needed more attention. He needed more and more and more attention.”
Lowery, now 24, faces up to life in prison for the 2017 murder of Bryan Ramirez, 18, at the gas station. Ramirez, a man taking a break from his work at the convenience store, was shot in the back with a rifle.
The shooting was filmed and broadcast on Snapchat, which led law enforcement to identify the Sautee man as the shooter.
When a person called him out for his reckless actions, Lowery responded with the crying laughing emoji, Buckler said.
“He’s reveling in it,” the assistant district attorney said. “He’s finally gotten all of the attention that he’s been after.”
Defense attorney Jeffrey Brickman said he and co-counsel Robert Rubin are not contesting the facts of the shooting. The only question, he said, was why it happened.
Lowery pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
He was declared competent by Superior Court Judge Clint Bearden to stand trial Thursday, Jan. 19 after two days of testimony from a handful of psychiatrists. The doctors detailed the delusions the man is facing, such as his reported beliefs that he is in communication with famous rappers and that they will help him escape legal peril.
Bearden gave the jury instructions about the different potential verdicts, which surround whether Lowery could understand right from wrong at the time of the shooting.
If Lowery is found not guilty by reason of insanity, then he would be committed to a mental health facility until the court feels he should be released.
If he is found guilty but mentally ill, then Lowery would go to the Georgia Department of Corrections, who would be in charge of evaluating and treating him.
Brickman said Lowery’s schizophrenia “rendered him mentally incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong.”
In his opening statement to the jury, Buckler detailed Lowery’s actions in the months before the shooting, saying the man “came down here from White County to hunt people.”
On Oct. 18, 2017, Lowery searched “punching out a Walmart freezer” on his phone.
The next day, Lowery drove down to the Shallowford Road Walmart. Buckler played the store’s surveillance footage that shows Lowery punching a woman as she turns the corner.
Lowery, who captured the punch on video, was seen walking out of the store looking at his phone, Buckler said.
Lowery was charged with battery from the Walmart incident.
Brickman pushed back on Buckler’s use of the word “hunting” to describe Lowery’s actions.
The defense attorney pointed out how Lowery did nothing to conceal his actions, considering they were posted on social media and in view of a witness. Lowery also didn’t try to get rid of the gun, ammo, clothes or car, Brickman said.
Brickman asked the jury to reach their verdict devoid of the emotion that would likely well up in the case.
The trial will continue Thursday, Jan. 26.