Local News

Suspect In Barber Shop Stabbings Makes First Court Appearance

Posted May 24, 2005

— A North Carolina State University student accused of suddenly stabbing a barber after a haircut made his first court appearance Tuesday.

Johnelle Lowery, 19, tried to tell his story in court, but the judge did not want to hear it.

"This is only your first appearance, Judge Paul Gessner said. "This is not the time for you to plead your case. And anything you say can and will be used against you."

Lowery was trying to tell the judge that he acted in self-defense when he allegedly stabbed Darryl France and James McGee. Lowery even struck a conciliatory tone when trying to apologize for his comments in court.

"I have a question. If you misinterpreted my statements as arrogance, they weren't," Lowery told the judge. "Because in all sincerity, I honestly was acting in self-defense."

Lowery, whose demeanor prompted Judge Gessner to ask prosecutors if his mental capacity should be considered, never said why he was acting in self-defense.

James McGee, one of the two victims from Monday's stabbing, said from his hospital bed Tuesday that when he finished cutting Lowery's hair, Lowery stabbed him.

The incident happened at the Five-Star Barbershop on Hillsborough Street -- right across from the N.C. state campus.

McGee and France are listed in good condition at WakeMed.

Lowery was also taken to WakeMed for injuries received during the fight. When he was released from the hospital, he was placed in the Wake County Jail under a $250,000 bond for attempted murder and a $5,000 bond for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

Police do not know what motivated the attack.

Lowery's next court date is June 14.

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