PARKERSBURG - A guilty due to mental illness plea was entered Thursday by a man indicted by a special session of the grand jury in March 2007.
Russell Lee Lowe, 46, in custody at North Central Regional Jail, was indicted by the panel on five counts of first-degree sexual assault, three counts of sexual abuse by a custodian, two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and four counts of sexual abuse by a parent from March 2001.
According to the plea agreement accepted by Judge Robert Waters, Lowe agreed to plead guilty by way of mental illness to first-degree sexual assault, first-degree sexual abuse and sexual abuse by a parent or guardian. Lowe was committed to a state hospital for three to five years and a danger assessment to be performed within 30 days of admission. He will be required to register with the state police for life as a sex offender.
Steve Harter, 39, 828 Dickel Ave., Parkersburg, was granted a motion to continue and a new trial was set for March 10, case No. 2. He was indicted by the September grand jury on two counts of fraudulent schemes and four counts of fraudulent use of an access device from April 2007.
Arraignments began Thursday before Judge J.D. Beane to hear pleas from those indicted by the January grand jury. Those indicted, their pleas and trial dates were:
Arraignments will continue today at 9 a.m. before Waters and Judge Jeffrey Reed at 10:30 a.m.
(Editor's Note: Indictments are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.)