By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — For the first time in a decade Wednesday, a man stood accused of murder in North Tonawanda City Court.
Niagara County Sheriff’s deputies led Brian C. Lowry into a half-filled court room, where he waived his right to a felony hearing and was assigned assistant public defender James A. Rizzo as his legal counsel.
Lowry is accused of brutally slaying his girlfriend, Heather M. Rylowicz, 34, inside her Lincoln Avenue home.
The two dated for several months before Rylowicz was discovered dead by North Tonawanda police last week, when a manhunt ensued for the Michigan native, who was discovered by Buffalo police on Saturday and taken into custody.
Unshaven and wearing a black and gray jacket and camouflage cargo pants, Lowry, 32, fidgeted as he awaited an appearance before NT City Court Judge Jeffrey N. Mis. He did not address the court but whispered to an acquaintance before being led back to jail.
Rizzo said he will represent Lowry until the A-Felony charge of second-degree murder is moved to Niagara County Court, where bail will be set. Lowry has been held in Niagara County Jail without the possibility of bail since his arrest on Saturday.
“He is obviously a little upset,” Rizzo said, while adding that despite the likelihood that Lowry will receive a psychological evaluation before trial, he understood the legal ramifications of the murder charge.
Lowry will be assigned another public defender once the case moves before a grand jury.
A Michigan publication, annarbor.com, has reported Lowry had a troubled past, with a criminal record dating back to 1996, when he was convicted of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for relations with a 13-year-old girl in his hometown Ypsilanti, Mich. Lowry had reportedly lived in a mobile home park at the time but was held in a juvenile detention center for roughly one year.
He then lived in a residential treatment center until 2000, when he fled a halfway house and was later convicted of violating his probation. In 2005, he failed to register as a sex offender, local media outlets reported, and served another 90 days in jail.
North Tonawanda police tracked Rylowicz’s missing vehicle to the New York State Police, where it was recently held after an acquaintance of Lowry’s was stopped driving it on the I-190 and charged with DWI. Police said Lowry “admitted his involvement” in Rylowicz’s death but refused to elaborate further.
The Niagara County District Attorney’s Office did not return calls seeking information on subsequent court proceedings.Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.