More frustration for Mary's family

by Michael McNutt,

Kira Allen-Lowe’s 3 1/2-hour trip to speak with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Commission about how the agency is handling its probe into her mother’s slaying nearly 36 years ago proved to be for naught. She said she emailed the commission two months ago with a request to be heard at Wednesday’s meeting only to discover she was not on the agenda and was not allowed an opportunity to speak to the OSBI’s governing body.

“I assumed that they would have had my letter, and I would have been given an opportunity to voice my concerns,” said Allen-Lowe, of the Dallas area, whose mother, Mary Morgan Pewitt, was murdered in June 1988. “I was stunned.”

Faced with a long drive back to Texas without any answers, Allen-Lowe said she cried as she left the OSBI building (on May 15). She told NonDoc that the email she sent March 23 to the OSBI Commission address listed on OSBI’s website instead was received by an assistant to Spurlock.

“The date that I sent it, I received a phone call from Aungela Spurlock that was very brief,” Allen-Lowe said. “She said pretty much that, why didn’t I come to her with my concerns, and we’d like to get this straightened out, I’ll have my assistant set up some time where we can sit down and chat.”

Allen-Lowe said she eventually met with Spurlock on April 11, but she was unsatisfied with their conversation and chose to attend (the May 15) meeting to complain to commissioners.

“I should have been on the agenda because I did send it to the OSBI Commission, and I was stunned that I didn’t get an opportunity to address my concerns,” Allen-Lowe said. “So as I was leaving, I spoke with somebody and I said, ‘You know, is it just the executive board that gets an opportunity to speak?’ and she said, ‘Yes ma’am,’ and I said, ‘Well I wrote a letter, you know, did they not receive it?’

“Well, she went and spoke with Aungela’s assistant, and she came over and spoke to me, and she said, ‘Well, no, you didn’t send that to the commission.’ And I said, ‘Yes ma’am, I did, here’s the email,’ and she said, ‘Well, you know, what’s on the agenda is what’s on the agenda.’ And I said, ‘So are you telling me that my mom’s case and this complaint doesn’t matter?’ And she said, ‘That’s not what I’m saying,’ and she walked off.”

Allen-Lowe said she did not get a chance to talk with Spurlock or (Chairman) Vic Regalado before or after (the May 15) meeting.

“I cried in the elevator going downstairs because it was another slap in the face [that] my case doesn’t matter,” she said.

‘It was like being that abandoned 8-year-old kid all over again’

Allen-Lowe was 7 years old when her mother was killed June 4, 1988 in Comanche. She and her younger sister had spent the night at their grandmother’s house while their mother worked at a bar in Comanche. They returned home the next morning to find their mother had been stabbed to death.

“Me and my sister found my mother, with my grandma,” said Allen-Lowe, who maintains a Facebook page about her mother’s case. “She was in her home, she was half nude, stabbed over 30 times. Yeah, we saw all of that from the window.”

The OSBI took over the investigation about 27 years ago, she said.

“They didn’t have it for the first nine years,” Allen-Lowe said. “And that’s kind of — there are always excuses that if they had it from the beginning (things would be different).”

Since 2014, five different OSBI agents have worked the case. Joe Kimmons, the former special agent who filed complaints alleging that Spurlock targeted him for termination, worked the case for two years. Allen-Lowe said Kimmons kept her up to date and was trying to obtain grand jury transcripts last fall.

But Kimmons retired Dec. 11 after rejecting an unusual proposal that would have allowed him to take four months of medical leave and achieve a retirement date bearing additional state pension benefits. Kimmons had been suspended after using the phrase “my n—a” when answering an October phone call from a coworker and friend. Another OSBI employee overheard him and reported it. Kimmons and his wife filed complaints against Spurlock, alleging that her efforts to terminate him exceeded the discipline prescribed by OSBI policy. When Kimmons chose to retire instead of withdrawing his complaint, the OSBI Commission asked the Attorney General’s Office to investigate.

As Kimmons’ saga unfolded, Allen-Lowe sent him messages that went unreturned, and she drove to a meeting with District Attorney Jason Hicks. Eventually, on Jan. 8, Hicks told her that Kimmons was no longer with the OSBI.

“I was frustrated that the one person I had come to trust and believe in was no longer at the OSBI,” Allen-Lowe wrote in the letter she emailed to the OSBI Commission. “I contacted one of the OSBI victim support services; I thought she could bring me up to speed. Instead, I left a voicemail on [Jan. 8] at 2:58 p.m. and never received a callback. It was like being that abandoned 8-year-old kid all over again, knowing my mother was dead, but who was going to help me get the bad guy(s)?”

Allen-Lowe said she was irritated to learn that no agent had been assigned the case for four months.

“My complaint is that I shouldn’t have found out from my district attorney,” Allen-Lowe said Wednesday. “For months, I had no clue. I was sending Kimmons messages on his, you know, OSBI cell phone.”

Allen-Lowe said that’s why she emailed the OSBI Commission to voice her dissatisfaction with how her mother’s case had been handled.

“My complaint is how the OSBI chain of command has handled this case or lack thereof. The OSBI as a whole did not communicate with our family about any ongoing transition or even that a transition had occurred,” Allen-Lowe wrote in the March 23 letter. “This experience has left me deeply concerned about the victims’ families; your lack of genuine care and concern is disheartening. However, I understand that issues can arise, but at this point, I am on my fourth OSBI agent in less than 10 years. The first two agents may have exchanged two emails with me.”

On Wednesday, Allen-Lowe described her April 11 meeting with Spurlock and OSBI deputy directors.

“My issues were that pretty much every time you ask a question, there’s no answer,” Allen-Lowe said. “It’s just followed up with da-da-da-da-da, there’s no true answer. I know there was evidence lost in my mother’s case, I know that 100 percent.

“They knew we were coming. They should have been prepared to answer those questions.”

Hunter McKee, public information officer for OSBI, said Allen-Lowe’s letter was “received directly by the commission, and director Spurlock was aware of the letter.”

“Our team did meet with Ms. Lowe prior to today’s meeting to personally address any of her concerns,” McKee said in an email late Wednesday. “That interaction was not held in lieu of any meeting or discussion Mrs. Lowe would like to have with our commission. Due to the issues discussed in open session of our meeting this morning, we were not able to discuss that specific item or others that we intended to address today. However, we are working with the commission and others to allow discussion of all appropriate topics at future meetings.”

(This article was originally published May 15. It is edited from a larger article on the May 15 OSBI meeting to only include references to the Mary Morgan Pewitt case.The full article can be found on