Wilder Landlord Denies Trespassing

White River Junction — A Wilder landlord has pleaded not guilty to illegally entering a tenant’s apartment without permission. The woman told police that Robert E. Lowery Jr. threw out a number of her possessions and that she was missing an urn containing her late husband’s ashes.

Lowery, 55, has been charged with unlawful trespass of an occupied residence, a felony, and was arraigned on Tuesday in Windsor Superior Court. If convicted, he could serve a maximum of three years in prison.

Lowery and his tenant, a 30-year-old woman, had been in the midst of a dispute when Lowery allegedly entered the tenant’s apartment, changed the locks and threw several items into a trailer outside the apartment, according to a police report. Hartford police found a white mattress and other items in the trailer. The tenant added that she was missing jewelry, a stereo and her deceased husband’s ashes.

At the time of the incident, Lowery owned and lived in the dwelling on Horseshoe Avenue and rented an upstairs apartment, according to the police report. The tenant told police that Lowery had pressured her to move out, but had not started the formal eviction process. The tenant had gradually been moving items out of her apartment when she found the lock had been changed, according to the police report.

When police interviewed the tenant, she said that Lowery told her he would “knock off” rent money and said there were other ways to pay. The landlord allegedly received sexual favors from the tenant in exchange for rent, according to the police report.

In September, Lowery was cited by police with unlawful mischief, burglary and prohibited acts for allegedly receiving sexual favors in lieu of rent. However, Deputy Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill said that by state statute, sexual intercourse would have had to occur for it to be considered a prohibited act. Based on the police affidavit, Cahill said there is not evidence that sexual intercourse occurred.

As for the burglary charge, Cahill said that charge requires that someone must enter a structure with the intent of committing a specific offense. But Cahill said he doesn’t think the state could prove that Lowery entered the apartment to commit a specific offense.

A message for Lowery’s attorney, Sandra A. Nelson, was not returned. Lowery could not be reached for comment.

Lowery was released on Tuesday without having to post bail and under the condition that he cannot enter the tenant’s apartment without a valid court order or unless she surrenders the apartment in writing.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.