BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Roland Webster Lowery, 40, of Slidell, LA pleaded guilty to two counts of carjacking late Monday evening before a Biloxi Circuit Court judge. Lowery was originally going to trial for the two counts of carjacking and one count of felony fleeing from law enforcement, but changed his plea to guilty before the trial could begin.
During the plea, Assistant District Attorney Ian Baker presented the court with evidence against Lowery including testimony from IP Casino security officers.
According to reports, Lowery was suspected of having stolen a phone charger from the IP Casino gift shop on September 15, 2017 around 11:15 a.m. When security told Lowery why they wanted to speak with him, they say he fled on foot from the front entrance of the casino.
Officials say the security officers chased him, and he jumped into the driver’s seat of a Desporte’s Seafood truck that was offloading at the IP loading dock on Bayview Avenue. The driver of the truck attempted to pull Lowery from the driver’s seat but was struck several times in the face by Lowery before being knocked to the ground as Lowery backed the truck from the loading bay.
Unfamiliar with the area, officials say Lowery then headed westbound on Bayview Avenue. Then, Lowery left the truck and stopped a Chrysler 300 being driven by an elderly couple.
According to reports, he ordered the couple from the vehicle telling them, “Get out, and I won’t kill you both!”
The couple got out of their vehicle but called police shortly after Lowery left. Within minutes of the 911 call, officers spotted Lowery in the vehicle on I-110. Officers pursued him through D’Iberville and Biloxi. The chase ended in the parking lot of Big Ridge Baptist Church on Lamey Bridge Road in D’Iberville.
Lowery tried to flee on foot but was quickly caught by a K-9 officer.
When Lowery addressed the court, he admitted to the events and blamed his actions on an addiction to opiods and methamphetamine.
He was sentenced to the maximum of 15 years on each count to run consecutively for a total of 30 years. But 15 of those 30 years was suspended, leaving 15 years to serve in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Lowery will also have 5 years of post-release supervision following his release from prison and will have to pay over $10,000 in restitution to the victims.
At the time of this incident, Lowery was on probation in Louisiana on a 2014 conviction for possession of heroin. In addition to his sentence here in Mississippi, Lowery faces prison time in Louisiana for the violation of his probation.