A search of the Decatur home of Cedric and Joseph Cowan and a car at the property turned up four weapons and ammunition, according to testimony Friday in Cedric Cowan’s capital murder trial.
Decatur police Sgt. Jeff Clem, who testified in the fourth day of testimony, said he was part of the team that executed a search warrant at the home on 12th Avenue Southwest on May 16, 2015, and served as a “scribe,” logging in evidence that was collected by a crime scene technician who was later pushed out of the Police Department.
Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson said Friday that he plans to call former technician Johnny Lowery, whose credibility has come under scrutiny since then, to testify in the case next week.
The trial will resume Monday.
Clem showed jurors photographs of the items seized from the 12th Avenue home, including two .22-caliber rifles found in a back bedroom; .22-caliber brass rounds found in a bathroom, back bedroom, in a living room couch and on a living room table; several cellphones; a knife; two boxes of Sellier & Bellot ammunition on the front porch; an empty plastic casing to hold ammunition; and a black and white bandanna with a knot tied in it.
A black .380 Lorcin pistol, a silver .25-caliber handgun with an extended magazine and a black Fossil brand watch found in a black Michael Kors purse were retrieved from inside an older model black Ford Mustang that was located in the home’s driveway.
Cedric Cowan, 20, is one of four defendants, including his brother, Joseph Cowan, 25, who were charged in several robberies and the shooting deaths of Joshua Davis, 25, at Wilson Morgan Park, and Antonio Hernandez-Lopez, 27, in the carport of his Albert Street home that occurred over several days in May 2015. Cowan is the only defendant who has not been sentenced. The case is being heard by Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Howell.
Lowery in early 2018 admitted to taking a gold ring involved in an unrelated case out of the police evidence room and trading it in at Mid-City Pawn. He was initially demoted to patrol officer, but was later transferred from the Police Department and hired as a Decatur code enforcement officer.
He was moved from the department after Anderson sent a September 2018 email to Decatur Police Chief Nate Allen in an unrelated case that said in part, “I cannot and will not pursue prosecution in this case, or any other, wherein the prosecution is solely dependent upon Officer Lowery’s testimony or where his testimony is otherwise required.”
Brent Burney, one of Cedric Cowan’s attorneys, objected to all of the exhibits from the search being submitted into evidence since Clem didn’t collect them.
According to Clem, Lowery picked up and bagged the evidence and took photographs of the items, and was responsible for transporting the evidence.
Clem said he watched as Lowery put the evidence into envelopes and acted as a “scribe” at the scene, by logging the evidence.
The crime scene photographs showed that the rear passenger window of the Mustang was broken out.
“I don’t believe (the car) was operable,” Clem said.
“Can you tell jurors who put (the purse) there?” Burney asked.
“No sir,” Clem responded.
When Burney asked if two other defendants in the case, Cortez Mitchell and Amani Goodwin, could have put the purse in the car, Clem said, “Anything’s possible.”
In earlier testimony, a Decatur woman said she was robbed at gunpoint the night of May 15, after she arrived at her Eighth Avenue Southwest home, and she gave the assailants her black Michael Kors purse. She testified that there were no weapons in her purse.
Another witness to testify on Friday was Joshua Fisher, a Decatur police officer who was part of the team that executed the search warrant at the Cowan home. He said he and another officer were sent to find Cedric Cowan, who had left the house on foot.
As the officers headed north on 12th Avenue, they saw Cowan behind a business. At first he ran toward them, Fisher testified, and then he ran back behind the business.
“I yelled, ‘Cedric, get on the ground,’ and we handcuffed him,” Fisher said.