BY BILL LAITNER
Although his defense attorney argued that he acted in self-defense and that charges should be dropped, 18-year-old Robert Lowry of White Lake was ordered today to stand trial in the golf club slaying of a Wixom youth during a brawl of teenage gangs Sept. 1.
The fatal blow to Justin Hussin, 18, of Wixom occurred in a 3:15 a.m. street fight outside Hussin’s house between a group from Walled Lake Northern High School, led by Lowry — a 2009 graduate — and about half a dozen youths with ties to Walled Lake Western High School, according to police and witnesses.
At today’s preliminary exam for Lowry, at Novi’s 52-1 District Court, police cars ringed the parking lot and officers stood every few feet around the perimeter of the courtroom, as about 60 supporters of the two groups packed opposite sides of the courtroom.
Judge Dennis Powers, in his decision to bind Lowry over for trial, said the testimony of the only eyewitness to the fatal blow — Lowry’s friend Vincent Robinson, 19, of White Lake Township, and a 2008 graduate of Walled Lake Northern — would largely determine whether Lowry is guilty of second-degree murder, or of the lesser charge of manslaughter, or is not guilty.
Second-degree murder carries penalties of up to life in prison. Voluntary manslaughter, the other charge that could be applied to Lowry, carries up to a 15-year sentence.
Powers kept Lowry’s bond at $500,000 without the option of posting 10%, saying the youth had not tried to render any aid to the victim of the blow by the five-iron golf club but instead “he fled from the scene and tried to hide.”
Lowry’s friend Robinson testified that he drove Lowry and two other friends to the brawl, after Lowry heard by cell phone of the location from one of their opponents. Robinson told the court that no one in his car had any weapons but arrived to find Hussin armed with a baseball bat and others holding golf clubs, one of which Lowry picked off the ground.
Repeating his written statement to police, Robinson testified: “I see Justin start to swing (the bat) at Rob. Then, Rob kind of stepped back and took a wild swing (with the golf club) at Justin,” striking him loudly in the head.
Hussin died at the scene as Lowry and his friends fled, according to police.
“It’s a tragic situation,” said Lowry’s defense attorney Steven Schwartz of Birmingham. “But my client acted in self-defense,” Schwartz told the court.
Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Jason Pernick called Lowry “a killer” and said he was the aggressor because Robinson’s testimony showed Hussin had not raised the bat high enough to swing it.
Article published by FreeP.com on October 8, 2009.