Man Sentenced to 50 Years For Raping Homeless Woman at Knifepoint

Man Sentenced to 50 Years For Raping Homeless Woman at Knifepoint

A 52-year-old homeless man was sentenced to 50 years in prison this week for raping a homeless woman in downtown Houston in 2021, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.

“This defendant is not someone who made a mistake and needs a second chance. He has a clear history of repeatedly hurting people,” Ogg said. “Cases like this are the reason we have specialized divisions — our prosecutors in the Adult Sex Crimes Division are able to secure justice for vulnerable victims like this.”

Harold James Lowdins was convicted by a jury of raping a 59-year-old homeless woman at knifepoint under the Southwest Freeway overpass near a gas station in the 2000 block of Runnels on Dec. 17, 2021.

The woman was walking from the gas station about 8 p.m. when she was approached by Lowdins, whom she knew from a nearby homeless camp. They struck up a conversation, and she agreed to sit and talk with him at his area of the camp under the bridge.

After talking for a few minutes, he demanded sex from her. She refused and tried to leave. He then grabbed her and shoved her so that her head hit a concrete beam. The two fought until he pulled a knife and forced himself on her. He kept her at his place in the camp through the night by threatening her with the knife and forced her to have sex with him several more times.

The next morning he left, and she walked to a homeless outreach center. She was able to flag down a deputy with the Precinct 1 Constable’s Office to report what happened. She was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, where a forensic nurse examiner performed a sexual assault exam. Officers with the Houston Police Department continued the investigation.

DNA recovered during the exam was a match for Lowdins, whose DNA was on file because he had previously been to prison for assault. The DNA match enabled police officers to arrest Lowdins, whom the woman knew only as “Harold.”

During a four-day trial beginning last week, he was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and was facing a punishment range from 25 years to life in prison. Instead, he agreed to a 50-year prison sentence, which he cannot appeal.

Lowdins has a long criminal history that began with two misdemeanor assaults. In 2017, he was sentenced to two years in prison for pulling a knife and charging a security guard at a day-labor company.

In 2019, he was again convicted of a felony and sentenced to two years in prison for using an ice pick to threaten a woman to force her have sex with him.

Assistant District Attorneys Steven Harris and Savana Hooper, who are both assigned to the Adult Sex Crimes Division of the DA’s Office, prosecuted Lowdins.

“This defendant’s actions are clearly escalating to more and more violent crimes, and he is a risk to public safety,” Harris said. “We believe a 50-year sentence for a 52-year-old man is in the best interest of protecting the community.”

Hooper noted that the victim appeared in court to testify against Lowdins despite the hardships she is going through.

“Homeless victims are a really vulnerable population, and we are glad that the jury understood the challenges and problems she is facing and did the right thing,” Hooper said. “The victim in this case was very brave and very grateful that the jurors took her seriously.”

Lowdins must serve at least half of the prison sentence before he will be eligible for parole.