Despite family’s pleas, Jack Low Sr. will serve time in prison

by stephen milligan - the walton tribune

Judge Morris issues 4-year sentence

WALTON COUNTY – (March 4,2024) After an emotionally fraught hearing last week, Jack Duval Low Sr. was sentenced to four years in prison for his role in the accidental shooting death of his son, Jack Low Jr.

Low Sr. originally faced. charges including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, burglary in the first degree and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony for a 2019 incident in which, during an exchange of fire during a family dispute, he fired a shotgun in his son’s direction and hit him with a glancing shot that ultimately killed him.

Jack Low, Sr.

On Feb. 12, however, Low pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter in a plea deal that avoided a potential life sentence and set up a sentencing hearing last Wednesday. Despite pleas for mercy from the family, arguing Low was already seriously punished in the guilt and despair he still carries from the tragic incident, Judge Kevin Morris ultimately chose to include prison time for Low, although he lessened his final sentence from the district attorney’s office’s suggested sentence of eight years.

“My heart breaks for each and every one of you,” Morris said. “There’s one victim here on paper, but the reality is there is a whole room full of victims here. As a father and a brother and a son, I want so badly to comfort you, but that is not my duty. My duty is to impose a sentence that respects Jack Low Jr. and the laws of the state of Georgia.”

Low Sr. will serve four years in confinement, with an additional five years of probation for the remaining charge of possession of a firearm, as well as a fine of $1,000. Morris chose not to give Low credit for time served, either for the five months he spent in prison in 2019 or the four years of house arrest.

Before Morris issued his decision, however, the court heard statements from multiple family memberson Low Sr.’s behalf. Generally, in a sentencing hearing, the court hears impact statements from the family of the victim, but in this unusual situation, all of the victim’s relatives were also relatives of the defendant, and every one spoke on Low Sr.’s behalf as supporters for the defense.

Lucy Low, Low Sr.’s sister-in-law, was one such person who spoke on Low’s behalf.

“He’s carrying a heavy load,” she said of Low. “He’s a broken man. Our lives are forever changed. Since this tragic accident, we’ve needed each other more than ever. We will be devastated if he is taken away from us. I plead with the court not to add to our suffering.”

James Brown, pastor of Annie Mary Baptist Church in Monroe and Low’s own pastor, also spoke.

“When I visited him in the Walton County jail, I walked in to encounter a broken, remorseful man,” Brown said. “He will always be in a prison in his mind and body the rest of his life.”

George Low, Jack Sr.’s brother, said he felt his brother had punished himself enough.

“We see no reason Jack should spend any more time in confinement,” George said. “This is a family tragedy. Our only goal is to help our family get through this tragedy. We’re not going to abandon Jack.”

Also speaking was the victim’s son and the defendant’s grandson, Jack Low III.

“I wouldn’t be the man I am today if it weren’t for my grandfather and the knowledge he passed on to my father,” he said. “I truly believe wholeheartedly taking him away would only add to the tragedy.”

Jack’s wife, Linda, was the last family member to speak.

“I cannot begin to tell you how much I miss my son, my only child,” Linda Low said. “Every day I wish I could wake up from this nightmare. I lost everything that night. I lost my son, I lost my husband, I lost myself.”

She said she also felt Jack did not deserve prison.

“It’s been a heavy burden to carry for five years,” Linda added. “He lives in hell every day. He’s merely a shell of a man.”

Jack Low Sr. himself spoke next.

“There’s nothing I can say or do thatcan change the tragedy that happened,” he said. “There’s not a day I don’t regret the choices I made. I spend every day trying to make up for what I’ve done.”

Low’s attorney, Brett Mizerak, said the district attorney’s office had allowed the case to drag on for five years, only to offer the same plea dealhe’d asked for at the beginning of the case, and said Low did not deserve to spend any more time in prison.

“Everything the court can do to punish Mr. Low can be done without prison,” Mizerak said. “This was a terrible accident. There was no intent. There was no malice.”

Nevertheless, Morris chose to impose jail time, pointing to the empty side of the courtroom where the victim’s family would usually sit, compared to the packed seats behind the defense table, and said the law must consider what was due Low Jr. in the sentence.

“It has not escaped me that there is no one to speak on behalf of Jack Low Jr.,” Morris said. “That’s unfortunate.”

After the sentencing, Mizerak was vehement in his criticism of the decision, lambasting Morris and lamenting that the previous judge on the case, Judge John Ott, retired before he could weigh in on the sentence.

“I strongly disagree with the judge’s sentence and I’m very disappointed my client was denied being sentenced by an experienced judge like Judge Ott,” Mizerak said. “At least Ott knew what he was doing and deserved to be a judge. All due respect, it’s hard to have my client sentenced by a judge with zero experience and got the position because of his personal friendship with the governor and not based on merit or experience. I’m glad I don’t live in Walton, the citizens deserve better. Judge Morris was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple It’s a travesty.”

Mizerak went on to say the sentence was a slap in the face for Low’s family and further punished them all for a tragic accident.

“I have given Walton County my absolute all over the last 25 plus years and I’ve never been more disappointed in a sentence in my entire career,” Mizerak said. “Walton County and the entire Low family deserve better.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply