By 2006, Lowry’s husband Tramposh had his own worries, due to years of alcohol and drug abuse. He was sick with cirrhosis, had type 2 diabetes, and suffered from low testosterone, a side-effect of the methadone he was taking. Tramposh had poor eating habits, and periodically, Lowry would cook him a meal to replace his frequent use of the microwave. In a police report, Tramposh identified himself as having “bipolar disorder.” He noted that he “slept a lot.”
Though the marriage may have brought some stability to Lowry’s life, whatever she did enjoy was worm-eaten by drug-taking and hospitalizations. In addition, the pair often fought over attempts to recover Tramposh’s share of a family inheritance, which, Lowry alleged, was being kept from him by his sister, Erica Winchell. Lowry said that the sister was not paying her brother the money for estate items that had been sold on eBay. According to a story in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Winchell disputed this, calling Lowry “poison.” Lowry, she said, had been “nagging Tramposh to demand his share” of money that was “tied up in probate court.”
On September 21, 2006, Lowry said she and her husband had gone to Costco “for food and water. We had been drinking. Mudslides, in the truck in the driveway [at Costco]. When we got home, we sat in the parking lot [and] drank.” A bit past 8:00 p.m., while Lowry prepared dinner, Tramposh talked about death, “about not wanting to live; he was talking about being a failure. He got a little bit mental.” That’s when the inheritance came up again. They argued over who should call the sister. Tramposh said, “You call her back.” A police report states that Lowry had been arguing with Winchell on the phone. She pleaded with her husband to phone Winchell again “on her behalf. He refused to do so.”
It seems that one of the pair ordered the other to bed. Then, Tramposh changed his mind and moved toward the phone. Lowry said that Tramposh was “angry at his sister, not taking it out on me. But he want[ed] to talk to her again.” His wife was in the way, and he went to push her aside.
Lowry, who’d been cooking dinner, was holding a kitchen knife, one they had bought at the Del Mar Fair. “It was a sharp knife,” Lowry said. “I was trying to get through to him, make him pay attention. I poked him. ‘Stop it. Just quit it. Let’s leave this whole fucking mess alone.’ ” Lowry said the knife didn’t go in deep, though he “did bleed a lot.” Clutching his stomach, Tramposh stumbled out of the trailer.
Lowry called 911. The operator told her to stay in the house. That’s when Lowry began spinning the first of many stories about what had happened. When the operator asked for details, Lowry said that Tramposh had fallen on something in the house. She knew she was drunk; she knew there’d be police. So “I made up bullshit.” But, she continued, “I didn’t think he was hurt. I didn’t know how deep it was. I just thought he would need stitches.”
Scared, she ran outside and found Tramposh in a nearby phone booth on his knees. He’d called an ambulance, “as he knew he was seriously hurt.” Tramposh told the operator his wife had stabbed him. Medical technicians and the police arrived to find him “barely breathing” with a “weak pulse.” He “appeared to be unconscious.” Tramposh then whispered to the police officer that his wife had stabbed him. The ambulance rushed him to Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he had difficulty breathing and a terrific pain in his chest. A laparotomy, or incision in his abdominal wall, found “two liters of clotted and unclotted blood.” The knife had gone in three and one-half inches. After puncturing the liver, the knife struck an artery on the underside of the liver. Tramposh was moved to intensive care, where he lingered, in and out of consciousness.
When the police had arrived on the scene, both Lowry and her husband were in the phone booth. The police had to separate Lowry from Tramposh’s body. According to the report, she was drunk and uncooperative. Initially, she maintained that he had fallen on something in the yard, but when they questioned this story, she said that she “thought someone in the park must have attacked him” while he was outside. When Lowry heard what the hospital was doing to save her husband, she complained that they weren’t doing enough for him.
Finally, she told the officers, “It was a poke, it wasn’t a stab.” A poke to end an argument. The story squared with the facts — the knife, the wound, the phone calls, all of which were verified. The truth, however, was not enough to save Tramposh. He lingered for ten days, until his liver and kidneys failed. He died on October 1, 2006.
In his final days Tramposh made a point of not blaming his wife. Evidence of this comes from his dying statement, which the attending nurses corroborated. “ ‘Tell Marion I love her. You need to tell the detective that she didn’t do it on purpose.’ ” Lowry testified to the psychologist that “the doctors and nurses said he never said anything bad about me.” After her husband’s death, Lowry was remorseful. “He taught me how to be happy with the smallest things, taught me how to slow down. He taught me how to use my mind, how to think, how to relearn new things.” The psychologist and psychiatrist concluded that Lowry was sane at the time of the murder, in part because she had several times consciously misrepresented what had happened.
Last summer, Lowry pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter. She cried to the judge, “I loved my husband, and I didn’t do it on purpose. I was trying to get his attention, and I loved him, and I still do, and I always will. It wasn’t meant to be this way.” Had the case gone to trial and Lowry found guilty by a jury, she might have received 15 years. Instead, the judge, who reviewed the psychological and psychiatric reports, listened to her woes and gave her 7.