LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — It’s been more than four years since Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Steve Owen was shot execution-style while responding to a burglary call at a Lancaster apartment building.
His widow, Tania Owen, said she wants her husband’s killer to face the death penalty, believing that the shooter’s actions were calculated.
“When my husband made contact with him, he shot him, completely disabling him,” she said. “And he walked up to him, stood over him and shot him three more times in the face, and then shot him on his badge.”
Trenton Lovell, a parolee at the time, has been accused in the fatal shooting.
Owen said she was furious that, if convicted, Lovell likely would not receive the strictest punishment possible — the death penalty — after newly-elected District Attorney George Gascón banned the punishment.
On the first day of his term, Gascón, who won over voters in November with his promise of sweeping reforms, issued a number of directives — one of which removed the death penalty as a punishment and another that stopped the practice of seeking special enhancements for especially violent cases, which can add years to prison sentences.
Matt Murphy, an attorney representing the Owen family, said if Lovell was charged with second-degree murder and Gascón’s office gets its way, it would be a travesty of justice.
“This person could literally spend less than six years in California state prison for the cold-blooded, execution-style murder of a police officer engaged in the performance of his duties,” he said. “It is outrageous.”
Lovell’s attorney said that her client has been charged with first-degree murder, which carries a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office issued a statement that said, in part:
“District Attorney Gascón firmly believes that sentencing enhancements unnecessarily tacks on additional years for someone who already faces decades in prison if convicted of a violent crime.”
But Owen said, regardless of the punishment, her life will never be the same.
“When my husband was murdered, he wasn’t the only person murdered,” she said. “My life is over, the way I knew it.”
A spokesperson for the D.A.’s office said that they have yet to file a motion to dismiss the special enhancements in the case.