The man who murdered Sgt. Steven Owen in Lancaster nearly five years ago entered a guilty plea Thursday, according to officials.
Officials from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office had not returned a request for comment as of the publication of this article on whether the plea was part of a deal negotiated between the prosecution and defense.
Trenton Trevon Lovell, 31, pleaded guilty to committing the execution-style killing of Owen, admitting to shooting him multiple times after the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant responded to a report of a burglary on the 3200 block of West Avenue J-7 on Oct. 5, 2016.
Lovell entered a plea of guilty to the following counts: one count of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, one count of first-degree burglary, person present, and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. Prosecutors had also added two counts each of first-degree residential robbery and false imprisonment by violence.
“Sgt. Owen sacrificed his life to protect the community he served,” District Attorney George Gascón said Thursday. “This plea will not bring Sgt. Owen back but will hopefully provide some small measure of peace to his family.”
In what has become a rarity since Gascón ordered heavy restrictions on prosecutors seeking sentencing enhancements, Lovell also admitted to the special circumstance allegation of murder of a peace officer and special allegations of using a firearm to murder Owen, using a patrol car as a deadly and dangerous weapon during the attempted murder of a second peace officer on the scene, using a knife in a robbery and false imprisonment after he fled from the scene of the murder.
The special allegations were permitted in this case, as well as one other, due to the charges being filed before Gascón had taken office. The family of Owen had expressed their frustration earlier this year concerning the District Attorney’s Office not seeking the death penalty in the case after another order by the county’s top lawyer ordered a halt to capital punishment requests.
With the charges and enhancements combined, Lovell could be sentenced to life without parole. His sentencing is scheduled for May 17.
Lovell confessed that, after having murdered Owen, he then jumped into Owen’s patrol vehicle and crashed into the vehicle of another deputy who had just arrived on the scene to provide Owen with backup.
He fled the collision site, ran into a nearby home and held the residents inside at knifepoint while he robbed them. He was arrested soon after.