For Immediate Release
Reno, Nevada. Jan. 20, 2014. On Friday, Jan. 16, Washoe District Judge Lidia Stiglich imposed a maximum life sentence without parole on Robert Owens for the July 2013 hatchet murder of 22-year-old Lacee Shupe. Owens also received a 40 year sentence for the attempted murder of his housemate and landlord, 39-year-old Josh Able.
Able had been renting rooms in his Cold Springs home to both Owens, 43, and Shupe, who had come to the area from Gardnerville and was waitressing and attending cosmetology school in Reno. In early 2013, Able asked Owens to move out by July 1 after Owens lost his job and was unable to pay rent. In the very early morning of July 1, Owens attacked Able as he slept in bed, hacking at Able’s head and body with a hatchet, Owens also attacked Shupe, who had been awakened by the noise. Able was severely injured but survived; Shupe died from multiple hatchet wounds to her head.
Sandy Shupe, Lacee’s mother, told Judge Stiglich that “Lacee got a life sentence for doing absolutely nothing wrong, I got a life sentence without Lacee,” and said that “it breaks my heart to know the fear and panic she must have felt when she saw someone standing there with a hatchet.”
Able’s parents said they were grateful their son survived, but told Judge Stiglich he is not the same person he was before the attack. Due to his multiple head injuries, Able suffers memory impairment and has difficulty with routine daily tasks he once performed with ease.
Owens pled guilty to the First Degree Murder of Shupe and Attempted Murder of Able shortly before his November 2014 trial date. Owens’ lawyers said that Owens pled guilty to spare Lacee’s family the pain of a trial, and requested that Owens be allowed to serve his sentences concurrently. Chief Deputy District Attorney Luke Prengaman argued that Owens deserved life without parole in spite of his pleas, due to the brutality of the crimes and the suffering he inflicted upon both Shupe and Able.
Judge Stiglich’s sentenced Owens to life in prison without the possibility of parole for Shupe’s murder, and imposed a consecutive sentence of 11-40 years for the attempted murder of Able with the use of a deadly weapon.
If you have any questions, call Chief Deputy District Attorney Luke Prengaman at 328-3286.