DOBSON — A man who beat a Mount Airy woman to death will be imprisoned for life.
About a year after Jordan Ross Lowdermilk, 29, murdered Mount Airy resident Claudia Smith, 80, in her home, Lowdermilk pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Lowdermilk entered his guilty plea and was sentenced in a court session on Wednesday. A number of lesser charges were dismissed as a result of Lowdermilk’s plea.
Smith was found beaten to death in her Franklin Street apartment on May 11, 2016, and Lowdermilk was indicted on the murder charge, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree burglary, felony larceny, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill or seriously injure, breaking or entering a motor vehicle and misdemeanor injury to personal property the following July.
He had also been charged with additional crimes resulting from breaking and entering incidents and stabbing a motorist on I-77 after he murdered Smith.
Following the incidents, Mount Airy Police Chief Dale Watson indicated police believed Lowdermilk had broken into the elderly woman’s home, killed her and stolen her car.
Then-Sheriff Graham Atkinson said Lowdermilk followed the murder with a crime spree, which included stabbing a motorist after wrecking the vehicle he had stolen near exit 100 on I-77.
In July 2016, Assistant District Attorney Tim Watson informed Superior Court Judge Moses A. Massey that the state would seek the death penalty in the case.
At a hearing about six weeks later, Lowdermilk’s defense attorneys stipulated to the fact there was evidence of at least one statutory aggravating circumstance in the case, and a Superior Court judge signed an order allowing the case to proceed as a capital case.
Watson and Lowdermilk’s court-appointed defense attorney, J.D. Byers could not immediately be reached for comment, and it was not immediately clear why the court gave the man a life sentence.