Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two days after Tampa man cleared in beating, state charges his ex-wife with attempted murder of their child

TAMPA — At first, to deputies, it looked like a suicide pact — a desperate mother and 12-year-old daughter pushed to the edge by an abusive man.

Five months later, prosecutors have come to a different conclusion. Last week they dropped the domestic violence charges against James Clark and instead charged the girl's mother, Nancy Lowe, with attempted murder.

On May 25, Lowe and her 12-year-old daughter left suicide notes and set their garage on fire. Neighbors noticed smoke pouring from the Citrus Park home and pulled the pair to safety.

At the hospital, they told investigators the girl's father and Lowe's ex-husband, 45-year-old Clark broke into their home and beat Lowe the previous night. She had bruises. Deputies immediately arrested Clark on charges of aggravated battery and burglary with assault, which is punishable by life in prison.

Prosecutors dropped those charges last week. And two days later, on Thursday, they filed charges against Lowe. She faces one count each of arson, child neglect and attempted murder.

"I said, from the initial bond hearing, this isn't a suicide pact," said Clark's attorney, Anthony Rickman. "You can't agree to have your mother kill you. This is attempted murder of a child."

It all started one week in May, during a custody dispute.

Clark had received a couple weeks of time with his daughter, but Lowe picked up the girl from school, against court orders. Clark filed a missing person report.

The next day deputies were called to what appeared to be a double suicide attempt. Both Lowe and her daughter pointed the finger at Clark.

Rickman said the child later recanted her story. The attorney also provided evidence he had gathered to the state and Sheriff's Office.

On Oct. 22, prosecutors filed a "letter of release" stating simply that after investigating, reviewing the facts and applying state law, they won't be filing charges.

Rickman said his client is relieved the charges were dropped — but he's still sad.

"He's a victim, but he's an adult," his attorney said. "The child is the real victim."

She is still in foster care, as the state works on custody issues, Rickman said.

Lowe remained in jail Monday, without bail.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 226-3433.

Two days after Tampa man cleared in beating, state charges his ex-wife with attempted murder of their child 10/28/13 [Last modified: Monday, October 28, 2013 11:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter


    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle
  2. Death toll, humanitarian crisis grow in Puerto Rico


    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A humanitarian crisis grew Saturday in Puerto Rico as towns were left without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service following Hurricane Maria's devastating passage across the island.

    Crew members assess electrical lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Friday in Puerto Rico. Mobile communications systems are being flown in but “it’s going to take a while.”
  3. N. Korea says strike against U.S. mainland is 'inevitable'


    North Korea's foreign minister warned Saturday that a strike against the U.S. mainland is "inevitable" because President Donald Trump mocked leader Kim Jong Un with the belittling nickname "little rocketman."

  4. All-eyes photo gallery: Florida State Seminoles loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack


    View a gallery of images from the Florida State Seminoles 27-21 loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack Saturday in Tallahassee. The Seminoles will face Wake Forest on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

    Florida State Seminoles fans sing the fight song during the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  5. Helicopter, small aircraft collide at Clearwater Air Park


    CLEARWATER — Two people suffered minor injuries after a helicopter and a small aircraft collided late Saturday afternoon at Clearwater Air Park, 1000 N Hercules Ave.

    Clearwater Fire Department emergency personal douse a plane with fire retardant after the plane crashed into a helicopter at Clearwater Air Park 1000 N Hercules Ave. Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. According to Clearwater Fire two people sustained minor injuries. [Photo by Clearwater Fire Department]