Owens appears on Oprah network
KNOX — Lisa Owens killed her husband, Jeff almost 10 years ago. This week, she was one of eight “model offenders” to be profiled on the fledgling Oprah Winfrey Network. She also may be released from prison May 23.
Ray Haimes of 44 Blue Productions said the production is a seven-part series, “Breaking Down the Bars,” which began airing on the Oprah network March 8. Each episode lasts one hour.
“It will show how these women made some poor choices in the past and turned their lives around,” Haimes said.
Some of the inmates profiled from Rockville have already been released.
“We talked to them, and to their families, the superintendent of the facility and correctional therapists,” he said.
Among those interviewed were Owens’ sister, Patricia, along with “several people from Jeff’s side. We keep it pretty balanced,” Haimes said. The offenders’ stories are scattered throughout the series.
The OWN’s press release, April, 2010, said ‘Breaking Down the Bars’ is not like any prison show you’ve ever seen. We’re going to a new level, where there is a shot at rehabilitation and atonement. Inside the prison walls, can these women find the strength to confront their crimes and find redemption?”
According to comments made on the OWN website and various local blogs, community sentiment doesn't seem to believe redemption is warranted for the soon to be released Owens.
An excerpt from the series featuring Owens can be viewed at the following link. http://www.oprah.com/own-breaking-dthe-bars/An-Offender-Mentality-Lisas-...
The murder, which occurred almost 10 years ago, is still an open wound for so many in this small, Knox community where Jeff Owens lived and worked. Comments protesting Owens not only being selected for the series, but her alleged remorse and her possible early release, which if granted will shave 30 years off her sentence, can also be viewed.
The Owens’ murder was one of five in a two-year period for this small rural county, and the community was stunned when officials revealed Owens shot her husband in the back, in the shower, then took a trip to Washington, D.C., leaving his body in the shower until it was discovered by the family three days later.
Owens eventually pled guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to 40 years in the Rockville Correctional Center.
Here’s a look at the murder case: At 9:02 p.m. Monday, May, 21, 2001, Indiana State Police in Fort Wayne notified Starke County 911 dispatchers that someone was dead at the Owens’ residence at 503 West Delaware Street in Knox. The call came from a cell phone, and state police said the caller was the father.
Then-Police-Chief Rick Chambers said Knox officers were called to the Owens’ residence at 9:08 p.m. When officers arrived, they found Jeff Owens, 30, dead from a gunshot wound.
Police arrested Jeff Owens’ wife Lisa, then 29, on a preliminary charge of murder.
Jeff Owens was employed by McGrath Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning of Knox. J.D. McGrath, Jeff Owens' former employer and best friend, appeared in a web exclusive interview that can be viewed on the site.
In McGrath's testimonial, he tells how he took Jeff Owens to the bank because he said his account was missing money. When he (Jeff Owens) finished at the bank, McGrath said he asked if the bank had found his money and Jeff Owens said the money wasn't missing, his wife Lisa had spent it again. McGrath said Jeff told him he would be getting a divorce. The next day, according to McGrath, Lisa Owens called and said Jeff was unable to go to work. This was the Friday morning that Jeff Owens was shot by his wife. McGrath said he learned three days later, that his friend and employee had been killed.
Lisa Owens was an employee at Rockwell Windows and CVS.
Details of the case always were sparse, and current court records contain little additional information.
Lisa Owens initially pled not guilty to murder. It was later learned the murder occurred May 18. After the shooting, Owens reportedly took a trip to Washington, D.C., then returned to work before family members discovered the body.
Court documents indicate she claimed to be a victim of domestic violence, and that she had a “mental or emotional disturbance” at the time of the shooting.
Eventually, Owens entered into a plea agreement, pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter. On Sept. 6, 2002, Judge David Matsey sentenced her to 40 years in Rockville Correctional Facility.
The Department of Corrections now lists her earliest release date at May 23, 2011.
Since going to prison, Owens has filed two appeals for sentence modification and has gained a reputation as being a model offender.
While the plea included a 40-year sentence, Judge Matsey had the option of sentencing Owens to a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of 50 years, depending on mitigating and aggravating circumstances. He chose 40 years.
On Aug. 11, 2003, Owens filed her first motion to modify the sentence, which was denied by the court. On Nov. 6 of the same year, she filed her second petition. Owens’ petition was granted by the court Nov. 21, 2008.