A young woman who told police she hid her pregnancy and then suffocated her newborn twins to keep her parents from hearing their cries hung her head and listened in court on Monday as friends and family testified that she was sweet, humble, loved and respected by everyone.
The comments came during a bond hearing for 25-year-old Lindsey Lowe, who was arrested last week and charged with two counts of first-degree murder after her father found the body of one of baby boys in his daughter's laundry basket. Police later found the second body.
Mark Lowe defended his daughter in court, saying, "Lindsey is a model daughter and we love her very much. She's as good as it gets."
After hearing from all witnesses, Judge James Hunter in Gallatin set Lowe's bond at $250,000, though her lawyer had sought a lower amount.
"That may be low considering the nature of the offense," Hunter said, "but I don't consider her a danger to the community."
Lowe said his daughter had lived at their home in Hendersonville, just north of Nashville, since graduating from Western Kentucky University and had only gotten her first fulltime job about two months ago, working in billing at a dental office. She spent much of her time taking care of her mother, who had a brain tumor several years ago that had reoccurred in April.
"She had a seizure and could not drive, and Lindsey was her caretaker and driver," Mark Lowe said.
Questioned by prosecutors, Lowe said he felt his daughter was honest and forthright with him and his wife, although he admitted that they had no idea she was pregnant.
Lindsey Lowe hung her head through much of the testimony, hiding her face with her hair, but at times she looked up at the witnesses and smiled, appearing to mouth the words "thank you" to one of them.
No one offered any explanation for why Lowe might have been so desperate to hide her pregnancy that she suffocated the twins as soon as they were born. She told Hendersonville Police Det. Steve Malach she delivered the babies at home on the toilet and killed them so that her parents would not hear their cries, according to his affidavit filed with the court.
On Monday, Malach testified that in a thorough search of the home, police found no evidence that Lowe had made any plans for the birth.
Police have said they are working to determine the father's identity.
Lowe's attorney, John Pellegrin, said his client was engaged to be married, but he was waiting on the autopsy report to say anything definitive about the identity of the children's father.
Several of the character witnesses described Lowe with words such as "meek" and "humble."
Debbie Naylor, who sang with both Lowe and her mother at City Road Chapel United Methodist Church, called the woman "a loyal and obedient daughter."
Jama Gaines, who has known Lowe for years through the youth music ministry at their church, said, "Some teens try to push the boundaries. I never had to worry about that with Lindsey. She was always very compliant, always very helpful."
Both Lowe and some of the witnesses teared up during parts of the testimony, and at one point a court guard handed Lowe a tissue to wipe her eyes.
Pellegrin said Lowe was medicated during the hearing and was in jail because officials there are worried she could harm herself. The judge also said he was more worried Lowe could be a danger to herself than to others. She will be required to report to a probation officer.
In court, Lowe told the judge she had never had any mental health issues or taken any medications prior to arriving at the jail. Pellegrin said the first thing they hope to do if Lowe is released on bond is to get her psychiatric help.
He said it was too soon to say whether he might consider a defense of temporary insanity.
"It all boils down to what the psychological proof shows," he said.
District Attorney General Ray Whitley said after the hearing that prosecutors could pursue the death penalty, life without parole, or life with parole.
"I know people from her church and a lot of people support her, as they should do," he said. "On the other hand, we have two little babies murdered, and a lot of people could have a different opinion."
Family friend Naylor said after the hearing that she was happy Lowe would have a chance to go home to her family, pending trial.
"I don't know if any of us will ever understand _ even those of us who love her _ but Lindsey is not a monster."