Smith murder case moves to Superior Court


Surry County Detention Center

DOBSON — Jordan Ross Lowdermilk, who is accused of killing an elderly Mount Airy woman last month, waived his right to a probable cause hearing on seven associated felony charges in a brief District Court hearing Wednesday.

Lowdermilk appeared on charges of first-degree murder for the death of 80-year-old Claudia Smith, of Franklin Street.

The 28-year-old Lowgap resident also is charged with two counts of first-degree burglary, felony larceny, attempted first degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill or seriously injure, breaking or entering a motor vehicle and one count of misdemeanor injury to personal property.

On behalf of the defendant, Winston-Salem attorney J.D. Byers submitted waivers for the felony charges, which were subsequently bound over to Superior Court.

When entering a plea for the misdemeanor injury to personal property charge, Byers first stated “guilty” before correcting himself and stating “no contest.”

Judge Spencer Key accepted the plea, which means that a defendant is not pleading guilty but is willing to be sentenced as one would be if one were found guilty, and sentenced Lowdermilk to 45 days in the county jail.

However, the conviction was immediately appealed to Superior Court.

The charges stem from a series of events that allegedly occurred in the early morning hours of May 11.

Lowdermilk allegedly broke into Smith’s apartment — across the road from the Spencer’s lot that the city has been looking to renovate — murdering the woman and fleeing in her car, Mount Airy Police Chief Dale Watson said in May.

After wrecking the car on I-77 and abandoning it there, the suspect is believed to have embarked on a mini crime scene in the vicinity of exit 100 at N.C. 89, which included stabbing an I-77 motorist and two other break-ins, according to information provided by Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson in May.

Lowdermilk remains in the custody of the Surry County Detention Center without privilege of bond. Prosecutor Jerrell McGee and Byers both declined to be heard on any bond matters on Tuesday.

Lowdermilk is scheduled to appear July 8 for misdemeanor unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, July 19 for larceny of a firearm and July 11 for a misdemeanor probation violation.

Lowdermilk Surry County Detention Center
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