Tennessee Police: Father of smothered twins not fiance

By Travis Loller

Associated Press

GALLATIN, Tenn. (AP) -- Preliminary DNA tests prove that the fiance of a Tennessee woman did not father the newborn twin boys she is accused of smothering, verifying what she told police about the children's paternity, a detective testified on Tuesday.

Lindsey Lowe, 25, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Sumner County General Sessions Judge James Hunter sent the case to the grand jury after hearing testimony.

During the hearing, Lowe sobbed audibly as Hendersonville Police Det. Steve Malach described how she had told him of the affair that occurred in December and early January.

He said Lowe first said the father was her fiance, Jonathan Brooks, but that she had not told him, or anybody, of the pregnancy.

"I asked if it was possible anybody else was the father, and she told me she had cheated on her fiance with another guy, Jeremy Smith," Malach said.

Lowe later told Malach she had not told her fiance of the pregnancy so as not to disappoint him and because she didn't want to add to the stress of a family member's illness.

Malach said paternity test results showed it was more than 99.9 percent likely that Smith was the father of the boys.

Lowe's attorney, John Pellegrin, said after the hearing that it was the first time he and his client had heard the results of the paternity test. He said it is his understanding that Lowe, who is free on bond, remains engaged to Brooks. Brooks attended the hearing.

Police have said that Lowe told them she covered the mouths of the infants with her hand after giving birth on Sept. 12 so that her parents, whom she lived with, would not hear their cries. Her father called police two days later after discovering one of the two babies in a laundry basket in his daughter's bedroom.

After the hearing, Pellegrin told reporters, "I feel strongly that this is a mental health issue."

He said he believes the biological changes during pregnancy may have caused the onset of a mental disease in Lowe. And he said many other Western countries treat neonaticide by the mother as a mental disease.

Malach described details of his investigation. That included Lowe attending a wedding in Kentucky the weekend before giving to birth on a Monday that seemed meant to portray the woman as unfeeling.

He said Lowe returned to work two days after giving birth and sent her father a joking text message. Malach found Lowe at work and began to talk to her in an empty room.

"I said, 'I guess you know why I'm here,' and she was laughing and said, 'No. I have no idea,'" Malach testified.

He said she continued to chat with him for the half-hour ride to the police station.

"She told me she was a college graduate and she was into interior design,' he said. She even talked about plans to start a business.

Her attorney, Pellegrin, did not call any witnesses.

District Attorney General Ray Whitley said after the hearing that his office had informed Smith of the paternity test results earlier in the day.

"He took it like a man," Whitely said, explaining that Smith had known of the possibility and did not have an emotional reaction when he found out. He said the affair would be part of the proof they would present at trial as a possible motive for the killing.

Whitley said Smith lives in Kentucky and that he and Lowe know each other "through a family connection."

During the hearing, prosecutors asked to have Lowe's bond revoked because she had tested positive for a benzodiazepine drug, such as Valium or lithium. The two sides agreed to meet next week for a bond hearing.

However, Pellegrin said afterward that he doubts the hearing will be necessary as he expects to be able to show prosecutors that Lowe is not taking drugs for which she does not have a prescription.

Published: Thu, Oct 27, 2011