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Detective: Thrill kill witnessed via Internet chat

Someone witnessed the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Cherish Pincombe, but investigators have no idea who.

Chad Mitchell, a homicide detective with the Henderson Police Department, testified Monday that Pincombe and her friend Colin Lowrey were using Omegle.com, a site where people can have random video chats with anonymous people across the globe, when Lowrey put a gun to the woman’s head on Oct. 22 and pulled the trigger.

Police sent a subpoena to Omegle but received only snapshots of chats involving Pincombe, Lowrey and Lowrey’s roommate Patrick Duffy.

“Everything looked happy,” Mitchell said.

Henderson Justice of the Peace Rodney Burr heard testimony Monday from four witnesses, including Mitchell and Lowrey’s three roommates, before ordering the defendant to stand trial on an open murder charge.

An arraignment for Lowrey is scheduled for Dec. 10 in District Court.

Lowrey, a 22-year-old Army Reservist, told police he thought his gun was unloaded when he shot Pincombe.

Deputy District Attorney Jake Villani has said prosecutors are “looking at this more as a ‘thrill kill’ than an accidental death.”

Lowrey called 911 the morning of the shooting to say a gun had accidentally fired in his house and struck a woman in the head.

Pincombe was taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, where she died a short time later.

Mitchell said he responded to the home in the 700 block of Taliput Palm Place, near Gibson and Sunset roads, where he interviewed Lowrey and his three roommates.

Lowrey told the detective he and Pincombe were chatting on Omegle.com with someone who said she was from Norway and wanted to know whether they had any guns. Lowrey then went and retrieved his rifle and a .45-caliber handgun.

He told police he left the handgun unloaded on a desk and then went to the bathroom. When he returned, Pincombe asked him to point the gun at her head, Lowrey said.

“Without her asking, he decided he would pull the trigger,” Mitchell testified.

The detective said Lowrey speculated that Pincombe had inserted the magazine in the weapon while he was in the bathroom.

Mitchell said Lowrey did not think the person from Norway was the same person who witnessed the shooting.

“Somebody saw the gun discharge,” the detective testified. “There was an active chat going on.”

Lowrey’s roommates were home at the time but did not witness the incident.

Duffy testified that Pincombe was at the house when he arrived at 11:30 p.m on Oct. 21. He said she and the four roommates watched the movie “Fight Club,” and Pincombe fell asleep on the couch.

As a prank, Duffy said, the men decided to tie Pincombe to the couch with cable ties, also known as “zip ties,” but she woke up and thwarted their efforts.

Duffy said Pincombe laughed about the attempted prank. In the past, she had covered his bedroom with plastic wrap, he said.

Later on the morning of Oct. 22, Duffy said, he was singing songs with Pincombe and Lowrey while chatting on Omegle.com.

Duffy said he has known Lowrey since their freshman year of high school. He said he never saw Lowrey get angry with Pincombe.

The two other roommates, Patrick DeMarco and Michael “Steve” Cronin, also testified about the attempt to tie Pincombe to the couch. They, too, said she laughed about it.

After the hearing, defense attorney Stephen Stein argued that his client should stand trial on nothing more serious than voluntary manslaughter.

“I heard no evidence whatsoever of premeditation, and I heard no evidence whatsoever of malice,” Stein told the judge.

The lawyer also asked Burr to reduce Lowrey’s $200,000 bail, but the judge refused.

Villani argued that malice may be implied when no provocation exists.

Burr said a jury will decide those questions unless the parties resolve the case through negotiations.

All three of Lowrey’s roommates sat near the defendant’s family in court while waiting to testify. Pincombe’s supporters sat on the other side of the courtroom but declined to comment after the hearing.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710.

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