LANCASTER – A parolee accused of shooting a Lancaster sheriff’s sergeant responding to a burglary call, then pumping four additional shots into the veteran lawman once he was down, pleaded not guilty to a murder charge Monday.
Trenton Trevon Lovell, 27, of Lancaster, is charged in the Oct. 5 killing of Sgt. Steve Owen. Lovell, who is being held without bail, is due back in court Feb. 15 for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.
The murder charge includes the special circumstance allegations of murder of a peace officer in the performance of his duties and murder for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest. Prosecutors will determine later whether to seek the death penalty against Lovell.
Lovell is also charged with one count each of attempted murder involving another sheriff’s deputy and possession of a firearm by a felon, along with two counts each of first-degree residential robbery and false imprisonment by violence. The latter charge includes a knife use allegation.
The attempted murder charge includes an allegation that he used a patrol car as a deadly and dangerous weapon against a second sheriff’s employee who arrived at the scene.
The criminal complaint also alleges that Lovell was on parole at the time of the crime and that he had been convicted of robbery as a juvenile in 2006 and again as an adult in 2009, according to Deputy District Attorney Michael Blake.
Owen, 53, was shot to death as he responded to a young mother’s 911 call reporting a burglary at her apartment building in the 3200 block of West Avenue J-7.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Lovell shot Owen behind a residence after being confronted by the sergeant, who radioed that he had the suspect at gunpoint before he was shot.
“Sergeant Owen approached the suspect in response to a burglary call,” McDonnell previously said. “The suspect immediately shot Sergeant Owen. He then stood over and executed Sergeant Owen by firing four additional rounds into his body. He then unsuccessfully searched the body for the sergeant’s weapon with the intent to use it to murder the first responding deputy.”
The first responding deputy fired numerous times at Lovell, who had pointed his weapon at him, striking the suspect once in the shoulder, the sheriff said.
Lovell allegedly jumped into the sergeant’s patrol vehicle while a second deputy arrived at the scene, then rammed the deputy’s vehicle with Owen’s patrol car.
“Not only did the suspect want to kill our deputies, he held two teenagers hostage in a neighboring house until they were rescued by the heroic efforts of our Special Enforcement Bureau and our Lancaster Station personnel,” McDonnell said.
The two teens were held at knifepoint, according to prosecutors.
The suspect continued to try to escape and attempted to climb over a wall, but he was confronted by deputies and taken into custody. A firearm was recovered at the scene.
Owen’s wife, who is a sheriff’s Arson-Explosives detective, made it to the hospital before her husband died.
Owens was a 29-year department veteran who had worked in the Antelope Valley for years and was well known for his community involvement, especially with area youths. He was promoted to sergeant five years earlier.
His killing prompted an outpouring of support for his family and remembrances of Owens’ unwavering dedication to his job. Law enforcement officers from as far away as New York and public officials including Gov. Jerry Brown attended his funeral service.
Owen’s alleged killer has been arrested 11 times, first as a juvenile on suspicion of selling marijuana, and was jailed or imprisoned twice, according to the sheriff.
Previous related stories:
Thousands bid farewell to Sgt. Steve Owen
Parolee charged with murdering Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sergeant
Suspect executed sergeant after wounding him, sheriff says
Sheriff’s sergeant slain in Lancaster
42 comments for "Parolee pleads not guilty to fatally shooting sergeant"
Michael Mora says
Justice will prevail one way or another . God allows forgiveness , but we still must pay for the crime . God allows to have someone put to death for murdering an incent person , like in this case . Officer Owens was just doing his job . Like said justice will prevail in this life ,or the life to come, which is true justice.
They won’t need a trial for this one, the G’s in prison will take him out
Not guilty? Wow. This is going to be a sheer waste of tax-payer monies, for time to come. They should hang Lovell in a public forum. Maybe at a local park, so we can all spit on him while he is dying.
Agree, or release to us for a public hanging
A nice ol jim crow era lynching uh Anon?
Why not? he earned it.
Be equal says
It’s funny you guys talked about hanging a black man but it’s even more funny he’s alive and the cops not just on the other page there’s a white man whose rape many women and there’s not one comment on hanging him
I don’t care if this criminal is white, black, or green. Lovelle is a sick twisted man. He intentionally murdered a cop and would have taken more lives if he could. The coward shot the man 4x while he was down. That is a serious hate crime.
The truth is… rape happens every day. Sure it is completely terrible…. but what Lovelle did was border line treason. He slaughtered an amazing man who I will dearly miss.
As much as I disagree with making sensitive comments you pointed out, there is no doubt in my mind this man deserves the death penalty.
Tim Scott says
“The coward shot the man 4x while he was down. That is a serious hate crime.”
Do you say that every time a cop shoots someone? They always empty their clip, and then handcuff the victim while they bleed out without first aid.
We need more guns in the hands of civilians. Someone else would have probably offed this waste a long time ago.
We should be able to kill people to protect our property, and our family. I bet criminals in general would think twice about a lot of stuff if they thought the victim could shoot them legally!
Wishful thinking says
Well, your in the wrong state then
2nd ammendment says
Amen. California is not a open carry state anymore. But you can try NEVADA!
You’re an idiot. You CAN. It’s called self-defense. See all the good it does?
Tim Scott says
Well, no. Self defense, if proven, can get you off some hooks. But “I was defending my property and chose to escalate to lethal force” is not going to work as a self defense claim. Not even close.
Before you call people you disagree with names you should make sure that you are fully versed in the facts.
Facts only serve to cloud what has been predetermined by bias and prejudice.
2nd ammendment says
It’s CALLED THE 2ND AMMENDMENT AMEN!!!
Why do you folks always forget “A well-regulated….”, the starting point of the 2nd Amendment?
Application to purchase. Waiting period. Training for handgun. Permits. Required to be stored in safe or locked. And now license to purchase ammunition. Let us not forget restrictions on types of firearms allowed, restrictions on capacity, rules for reporting possibly dangerous owners, etc.
How much more regulated would you like it?!
Tim Scott says
How about carried/used only in conjunction with training or operations of an organized and recognized militia. You know, sort of like what “well regulated militia” sounds like it actually means?
Supreme Court case: District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)
On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States had ruled that “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”
The Supreme Court had concluded that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the inherent right of self-defense and that “above all other interests” the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use firearms in defense of self, family and property.
Tim Scott says
Yes John, one of the most ridiculous legislations from the bench in the entire history of the supreme court.
“The constitution, where it says well regulated militia, is not talking about militias at all.” Justice Scalia, speaking from deep in the pocket of the gun manufacturer’s lobby.
OK William and Tim, your opinion is there. Now can you please explain how you plan to prevent criminals from having firearms and force them to follow the law.
I am asking for an actual plan please, not just removing guns from law abiding folk since we know criminals have manufactured their own firearms.
Tim Scott says
Yeah, criminals have made their own. That accounts for what, one one hundredth of a percent of the guns used in crimes? Less?
The rest, all 99.99%, are “repurposed” from their previous not criminal possession. If you control the non-criminal possessions better you cut off the source of criminal possession in almost all cases. A well regulated militia doesn’t include people who get their weapon stolen and just shrug, file a police report, and buy another one. A well regulated militia maintains control of its weapons. It doesn’t have children shooting each other playing with daddy’s gun. There are uncountable differences between a well regulated militia and every paranoid nitwit that can’t follow simple statistics thinking that a gun “makes them safer.”
A well regulated militia also maintains contact with its members. A huge number of guns used in crimes were legally purchased by the criminal, before they were a criminal. Sometimes years before. Legal gun ownership doesn’t seem to provide much of a buffer against turning to crime…quite the opposite in fact. So, wouldn’t it be better if instead of “I own a gun and no one knows it” the gun owner was a part of a well regulated organization? People who might say “Wow, Bob got laid off, and his wife walked out on him…maybe since we know that Bob has an assault rifle we should check in on him.”
Of course the gun manufacturers lobby is against any of these things, because they prefer that guns migrate from legal hands to criminal hands in a steady stream. They then just “have to” be replaced, and of course more gun crime feeds more crazy paranoia about how gun ownership “makes you safe.” That means sales, which is all the gun manufacturers lobby really cares about.
Well, to tell ya the truth, Laphing, it’s TOO LATE.
The gun lobby has resisted stricter regulation for so long that we now have almost as many guns as people in this country.
You’ve heard of closing the barn door after the horses have gone, haven’t ya?
You’ve heard of self-fulfilling prophecies haven’t ya? Now, that guns are so prevalent, the gun lobby/manufactors encourage everyone to be armed because there are so many guns in existence in this country.
What a majority of Americans and NRA members want is universal background checks but for some rea$on, that can’t be done.
If being armed was so great, explain how cops are killed in their patrol cars or eating in restaurants like in Las Vegas with those escapes from the Bundy Ranch.
Both of you come from the position of owning a gun to ‘protect’ oneself as the only reason persons purchase them.
There are many that purchase to collect, weird hobby but whatever.
There are those, such as myself, that purchase to target shoot.
There are hunters, they actually hunt for their food.
Trophy hunters are ghastly but they exist too.
Then there are bounty hunters, poor coyotes.
As to why officers get shot in parked cars. Have you tried drawing a pistol in a seated position when someone gets the drop on you? Or shoots at you from behind while you are minding your own business? I can say that yes I have attempted the first, impossible. I can also say yes to being shot at while minding my own business by some jerk trying to scare me. I just turned around and glared (only choice really at that distance) as they drove off in a hurry. I have also had a gang member draw on me, he was quite surprised when that bullet whizzed by his ear ( a purposeful miss into a solid cement wall.)
Training is key to self protection, no matter if it karate, hiding, talking calmly or using a weapon. But all the training in the world will not protect a person from treacherous jerks/criminals.
I also agree we need way better mental health in this country, not post care but pre care at the high school level on how to deal with stress, disappointment, and taxes.
Tim Scott says
I actually come at it from the point that “protecting myself and my family is my right” is what is most often trotted out as the reason that any sort of regulation is unacceptable. It isn’t hunters, food or trophy, who get up on their soapbox when I say that I’d rather not watch a movie in a theater full of armed paranoids. It isn’t target shooters or collectors who get up on their soapbox when I say that if I get in a fender bender in the parking lot of the grocery store I’d rather know that the heat of the moment is not going to prompt the other driver to shoot me over it.
You seem to live a dangerous life and you must think it’s like that for everyone else.
Some people can go their whole lives without any incidents involving guns, gangs or whatever. Then, there are those who seem to attract that kind of stuff, y’know, like you.
Some people go from one bad relationship to another and another and it always seems to be the other person’s fault. Of course, you know people like that.
Some people go 50 years w/o a car accident and others have them frequently and it’s someone else’s fault or the sun got in their eyes or whatever.
Laughing, you are the common denominator in all the incidents you mention
You live by the sword, you die by the sword.
Good luck to you. You’re gonna die eventually and, yet, you will spend your life fussing about it. There are probably women and children in Syria who are less paranoid than you are.
I live by my intelligence. So if I must die by it, so be it.
The first incident I had zero control of, a random drive by jerk on a back country road when I was a teen. (Mom was not happy about it)
The gang member incident happened soon after the LA riots when the bad parts of LA decided to move to Palmdale. I was an apartment manager and to this day have no idea what the guys beef was since he did not live there.
Yes, I will die eventually, as all Earthly life does, likely near age 89 (family trend). The only thing I fuss over is the cost of good food, oh and maybe too many lights at night blocking star light. I am not paranoid, and have only had one divorce she liked to cheat, and one bad relationship out of many, and she was just a mess emotionally. Yep, life has been and will continue to be good and interesting.
Why would you need to tell us you live by your “intelligence”, Laughing?
Has there been some doubt about that over time?
William, your attempt at a burn was soooo good that I need to pour some Ghost Pepper sauce in my eyes just to start feeling it.
Tim Scott says
I think both of those were pretty weak, but give Laughing the win for the ghost pepper sauce reference.
Didja see the huge alligator wandering around a park in Florida the other day?
He musta used his “intelligence” to grow so old and big, right?
I guess you’re as smart as an old, large reptile, with or without the hot sauce.
Hey, Tim Scott
I promise you that Laughing didn’t come up with that himself, just repeating a tired response heard/read elsewhere from his ‘archives’.
12 footer, about 80 years old. Intelligent enough to avoid being eaten by competitors, boats and hunters so far. Plus it impressed those folks just by walking casually along.
BTW Gator meat tastes great with Louisiana Crystal splashed on it.
Even the reptilian brain is naturally designed for survival.
That you attribute your own ‘survival’ to “intelligence’ as some kind of accomplishment undermines your claim of “intelligence”. All living organisms are designed for survival regardless of their “intelligence”. Unless, you think an alligator has the same level of intelligence as yourself.
Of course, that could be the case.
Try again. You just might accidently get it right.
We don’t need a trail for this POS. We need public execution. Start shooting this piece of [removed] in the knees using multiple shots, slowly working your way around his torso, let this piece of [removed] bleed out slowly and feel the same pain that Sgt Owen felt.
Save the taxpayers a ton of money. Once he is convicted, I’m sure there will be no shortage of volunteers willing to be in a firing squad. Hell, I’m sure they’d even supply their own guns and bullets.
This PoS needs to rot in hell.
Agree 100%. We’d save the taxpayers a ton of money if we dumped the ‘Eye in the Sky’, too. Complete waste of tax dollars.
Yeah. That “eye” is supposedly there to give deputys a heads up description of the scenario ,before they arrive. So in this case -it FAILED miserably, and the price was a good mans LIFE.. I guess thats why they get the massive tax funding-to try and recover the priceless ammount it COSTS . :(
All that “eye” does is line the pockets of Frank Visco, a political ally and contributor to Rex. It takes money that could be used for more sheriffs and wastes it on a useless scam. Besides, the sheriffs have helicopters if they need that sort of help. Helicopters work all across Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, etc. counties. They work fine in Lancaster.
I have news for you. I live in that neighborhood and can tell you that the eye was there circling at the very biggining of the event. i saw it long before i heard any helicopter.