Man Sentenced for Brutal Stabbing at Santa Barbara Homeless Camp

Donald Joseph Lowe, 59, Was Previously Convicted of Murder and out on Parole

Credit: Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office

Donald Joseph Lowe, a 59-year-old convicted murderer out on parole, was sentenced this week in Santa Barbara Superior Court to 25 years to life in prison for a 2018 stabbing at a homeless encampment near the Patterson offramp.

Lowe had previously been found guilty of a 1981 murder in Los Angeles County and was granted parole in 2012, when he “once again began committing serious crimes,” said the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office in a press statement.

On a mid-2018 evening, Lowe confronted a young man over a drug debt and stabbed him in the gut. “As a result of the stabbing, the victim’s intestines were eviscerated,” officials said. “Still, he called out for help and a nearby good Samaritan bravely called 9-1-1” despite those in the encampment telling not to. Paramedics arrived just in time and the victim underwent lifesaving surgery at Cottage Hospital.

Lowe’s trial was the only felony trial completed in Santa Barbara since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was ultimately found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury and possession of methamphetamine and heroin for sale. Supervising Deputy District Attorney Ben Ladinig prosecuted the case.

District Attorney Joyce Dudley commended “the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, local paramedics and the treating physicians from Cottage Hospital for helping solve this crime and saving a young man’s life.” In addition, she complimented the “exceptional bravery of the 9-1-1 caller, as well as the surviving victim, who testified as to the heinous stabbing.”


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