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Lawyer claims bank suspect is a case of mistaken identity

Edward Joseph Lowen

The newly retained attorney for accused bank robber Edward Joseph Lowen is asking for his client to be released on his own recognizance due to a possible case of mistaken identity.

Joe Majors, who initially appeared with Lowen at his arraignment last month but said he didn't know if he would represent Lowen, is back on the case after apparently coming to a fee arrangement with the defendant.

Lowen is charged with robbing an Akeley branch bank of $2,500 Feb. 26 at gunpoint, It was later determined the weapon was an air pistol. He appeared with Majors Monday in Hubbard County District Court on what was supposed to be his delayed omnibus hearing.

Majors requested a contested omnibus hearing, which has now been set for April 30, and a speedy trial.

But the attorney also requested a bail reduction for his client based on conflicting accounts of Lowen's overall size and potentially a mistaken identity.

"There's a statement by teller J.S. that the defendant was 6-feet, 200 pounds," Majors said.

Sgt. Cory Aukes, "with his police training," estimated the suspect to be between "5-foot 8 and 5-foot 10" after viewing the bank surveillance tapes, Majors told Judge Robert Tiffany.

Lowen, 54, is 6-foot 3 and 240 pounds, Majors said. He will be filing a motion to reduce Lowen's $50,000 conditional/$100,000 unconditional bail, which Tiffany set at $25,000/$75,000 at Lowen's arraignment. It was later raised in accordance with a probation department bail study recommendation.

"The defendant's ex-wife saw the video of him in the bank and said, 'That's my ex-husband,'" Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne protested, asking that he be given time to respond to Majors' motions.

Majors said "there are lots of issues" he will contest. He requested copies of all videos, bank surveillance tapes, CDs and "a database provided by the telephone company."

It was unclear what evidentiary value the database held.

Lowen was also admonished by Tiffany for sending a hand-written letter to Judge Paul Rasmussen.

"You are not to communicate with Judge Rasmussen on an ex parte basis," Tiffany warned Lowen.

An ex parte communication is a Latin term when an unrepresented party makes a unilateral approach to the court without notification to the opposing side.

Lowen was representing himself when the letter was written. He indicated to Tiffany and Majors he understood. He remains in the Hubbard County correctional center.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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