- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 9, 2005

A Montgomery County jury yesterday found a former U.S. marshal guilty of voluntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and using a firearm in commission of a crime in the fatal shooting of a Navy seaman during a traffic confrontation last year.

The former marshal, Arthur Lloyd, will serve at least five years in prison as part of the mandatory sentencing for the firearms charge and could serve as many as 35 years on all of the charges. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 26.

“I think we’re satisfied with this verdict,” said Tricia Stowers, the mother of Seaman Ryan T. Stowers, who died while fighting Lloyd outside the Mid-Pike Plaza Shopping Center on the night of Oct. 28. “Nobody wins in this situation,” Mrs. Stowers continued. “Everybody loses. I would much rather have my son back than a guilty verdict, but I think Mr. Lloyd needs to take responsibility for his actions just like anyone else would.”

The fight started when the men pulled off Rockville Pike and into the shopping center after Seaman Stowers’ began yelling that he had been sideswiped by Lloyd’s sport utility vehicle.

Witnesses said Seaman Stowers’ was driving his car erratically and appeared to have hit Lloyd’s rear bumper while trying to pass. They also reported seeing Seaman Stowers, of Redding, Calif., drinking at TGI Friday’s restaurant before the incident. He had a blood alcohol content of 0.22, nearly three times higher than the legal limit of 0.08, authorities said.

The Lloyd family was going to the plaza to buy Halloween costumes.

Lloyd, a 28-year veteran of the U.S. Marshals Service who retired after the shooting, testified that he fatally shot the 20-year-old Navy seaman in self-defense. He said the sailor punched and wrestled him, resisted arrest and tried to run him down with the Camaro even after he identified himself as a law-enforcement officer.

He shot Seaman Stowers once above the right ankle. Seaman Stowers called 911 and got backinto his car. Lloyd testified that several minutes later Seaman Stowers drove the Camaro toward him so he stepped aside and fired three more shots, including the fatal one that struck Seaman Stowers in the back of the left shoulder and pierced his aorta.

The jury acquitted Lloyd on first- and second-degree murder charges.

Jurors reached the verdict after three days of deliberations and just less than two hours after they sent a note to Montgomery County Circuit Judge Ann S. Harrington stating they were deadlocked. Judge Harrington ordered the jurors to continue with their discussions.

Defense attorney Barry Helfand said he was “stunned” by the decision and would appeal the case. “As sure as I’m standing here, this case will be back for a trial,” he said.

Mr. Helfand also said Lloyd was “devastated” by the verdict and that his family was “crushed.”

Family members declined to discuss the verdict.

Montgomery County State’s Attorney Douglas F. Gansler said he was “elated” with the verdict and thinks the case is on a “solid footing” against an appeal. He also said the verdict showed the jury rejected arguments that Lloyd was acting in self-defense or in his capacity as a law-enforcement official.

He said the only thing that made Lloyd’s status as a marshal relevant in the case was that it meant he was carrying a gun.

Mrs. Stowers and several members of her family remained calm through the reading of the verdict. She delivered a statement afterward while clutching the seaman’s white cap that remained with her throughout the proceedings.

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