Death of inmate follows brother's death in Jefferson County jail

Apr. 22, 2014 @ 11:15 PM

The inmate found hanging in a single-person cell of the Sevier County Jail last week was the sister of a man who died in the Jefferson County Jail the previous Saturday.

A jailer found Amy Denise Lowery, 35, of 2559 Roberts Road in Kodak, hanged in her cell Thursday, according to information from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office. Her brother, Kenny Ray Lowery, 37, of 4416 Turnery Way in Kodak, died April 12, while housed at the Jefferson County Jail, Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals said Monday.

According to reporting from The Jefferson County Standard Banner, Jefferson County Sheriff Bud McCoig said Kenny Lowery Jr. was in a bunk bed in an open cell block when he fell from the top bed. Corrections officers saw the incident and Lowery at first told them he was all right, but he later went into convulsions. He was taken to a local hospital and later died.

While the cause of death could not be confirmed, McCoig has said in recent statements to the media that three inmates died in his jail recently —two from hangings, and one from an apparent heart attack.

Sevier County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Amy Lowery Wednesday. She had a warrant for failure to appear in general sessions court, and a warrant for assault sworn out by her alleged victim April 9.

Tiffany Bible said Amy Lowery had been a guest at her home, but attacked her at about 11:30 p.m. April 9.

Lowery was arrested at midnight Wednesday, the same day her brother was to be buried and just hours after his funeral service and visitation.

Seals said Lowery was in a single-person cell in the Sevier County Jail. She had spoken to a chaplain, but had not given any indication she was a risk to injure herself.

“She did not tell him anything about (her intentions),” Seals said.

The cells are checked at least once an hour; Lowery’s cell had been checked about 45 minutes before a corrections officer found her in the cell, Seals said.

She had been in the Sevier County Jail 14 times, according to records, and jail officials said she was placed in the single-person cell based on her behavior during prior stays at the jail.

She is survived by five children, a sister, her parents and several nieces and nephews.

District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn confirmed Monday his office was informed of Amy Lowery’s death, but said that the notification happened Saturday, the same day The Mountain Press began inquiring about the incident.

As of Monday afternoon, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation had not been invited to investigate either of the Lowery deaths, according to spokesperson Josh DeVine.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com