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N. Tonawanda man gets 15 years to life for killing girlfriend

LOCKPORT – Frank Rylowicz didn’t hold back Thursday in State Supreme Court when he confronted the man who murdered his daughter.

“You’re nothing more than an egotistical, barbaric terrorist who should be shot by a firing squad,” Rylowicz told Brian C. Lowry, who killed Heather M. Rylowicz, his live-in girlfriend, in North Tonawanda last November.

Lowry, 32, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison by Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. He pleaded guilty April 18 to second-degree murder and nine other charges in exchange for the minimum sentence. The maximum would have been 25 years to life.

The 34-year-old woman’s body was found Nov. 21 in her Lincoln Avenue home. However, prosecutors said she might have been killed as far back as Nov. 2.

That was when she was last seen alive.

When he took the plea deal, Lowry admitted to cutting the woman’s throat and hitting her on the head with a sledgehammer. In previous statements to police, he had claimed the woman attacked him over drugs.

Deputy District Attorney Holly E. Sloma said that in a presentencing interview with a probation officer, Lowry dropped that contention.

“He freaked out and killed her,” Sloma said. “He tried to stage a situation where it would look like she was coming after him.”

Lowry then stole her car, her cellphone and four credit cards. Besides the murder charge, he pleaded guilty to five counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and single counts of third-degree grand larceny and petit larceny.

“I believe Heather told Brian on the morning of Nov. 2, 2012, to be gone from her home,” Frank Rylowicz said. “Brian, you weren’t going to be put down by a woman.”

“I’m very sorry for what I did. It was wrong, and I accept the punishment I’m going to get,” Lowry said.

Before his guilty plea, Lowry was examined by two psychologists, who reported that he suffered from personality disorders and heard voices in his head. They ruled, however, that with medication, Lowry would have been mentally competent to stand trial.

Rylowicz, who still lives in his daughter’s hometown of Brocton, didn’t care for the sentence, which was agreed upon two months ago by Kloch and the attorneys. “Our family feels the judicial system let Heather down,” he said.

“It’s the people’s position that this is a life sentence,” Sloma said, “having faith in the Parole Board that they will see he should not get out after 15 years. It’s the people’s position that he should not be eligible for parole. It’s the people’s position that he should die in prison.”

Frank Rylowicz charged that the plea deal resulted from information Lowry might have given the prosecution about drug suppliers.

“Absolutely not,” Assistant Public Defender Christopher A. Privateer said. “We didn’t provide any information about anything other than this crime.”

When the plea was entered, Kloch said he had agreed to the minimum sentence to spare the family a trial. Based on that sentencing commitment, Lowry agreed to plead guilty to all counts of the indictment, Privateer said.

Kloch said he watched Lowry as the victim’s father talked about her life story.

“You had no emotion. You didn’t respond. You have no conscience,” the judge told the killer. “You’re a danger to society. You’re aloof. You’re detached. You have to spend the rest of your life in jail.”