Appeal No. 121,914: State of Kansas v. Joseph P. Lowry
Appeal No. 121,914 archived oral argument
In a unanimous decision written by Chief Justice Marla Luckert, the Supreme Court affirmed Lowry's convictions for first-degree felony murder for his role in the murders of three people in a Topeka home. The Court rejected Lowry's argument that the trial court should have instructed the jury on the option to convict of voluntary manslaughter instead of first-degree murder because the facts of the case did not support his contention that there was a sudden and unforeseen quarrel that precipitated the killing. The Court rejected Lowry's claim that the trial court should not have allowed the jury to see crime scene and autopsy photographs because the photographs served an evidentiary purpose and did not serve solely to inflame the jury. The Court also rejected Lowry's claim that a jury instruction regarding compulsion as a defense to the nonhomicide crimes was not factually appropriate because the evidence did not show a continuous compulsion that would warrant such instruction and also showed Lowry had opportunities to escape the situation. Finally, the Court found no cumulative error because there were no errors to accumulate.