5-year-old beating victim's mother speaks - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Celeste Lowe's mother talks about her daughter's beating death

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Anna Celeste Lowe (Source: Jaime Mercer (mother's) Facebook page) Anna Celeste Lowe (Source: Jaime Mercer (mother's) Facebook page)
Wesley and Catherine Lowe (Source: Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office) Wesley and Catherine Lowe (Source: Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office)
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BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) -

The biological mother of 5-year-old Celeste Lowe admits to having mixed feelings about offering the woman accused in her daughter's death a plea deal on Monday.

Jury selection was set to begin Monday morning in the 2nd degree murder trial of 36-year-old Catherine Lowe, Celeste's stepmother. Instead, Lowe plead to a lesser charge of manslaughter.

Both Bossier Parish District Attorney Schuyler Marvin and Celeste's mother, Jamie Mercer, are convinced that Catherine Lowe is responsible for the death of Celeste. The bigger issue for the D.A.'s office, and Jamie, was proving Lowe's guilt to a 12-person jury. It was a risk the D.A. and Mercer weren't willing to take.

Mercer admits she wanted a stiffer penalty for Catherine Lowe, but also understands the strategy on the part of the D.A.'s office to offer Lowe a lesser charge for a guilty plea.

"Even though it's only 25 years, at least we're guaranteed she's going to spend those years in jail," Mercer said.

Marvin says the deal was offered a long time ago because while prosecutors had evidence that pointed to a beating death, the actual cause of death was difficult to prove. The Bossier Parish Coroner's Office said Celeste bled internally after she was severely beaten.

"Both sides, us and the defense, had experts that were prepared to testify what they thought caused the child's death. Obviously those opinions conflicted with each other," he said.

It was a choice between the possibility of Catherine getting zero years or 25 years. "This is a case that could go either way at the trial level, (and) could have gone either way on the appellate level."

Mercer said nobody witnessed what happened to her daughter, but she had suspected her Celeste wasn't happy staying with her dad, Wesley and stepmom, Catherine. Mercer had even fought for her custody.

"It boggles my mind that she fought for almost 14 hours for her life before she passed away," Mercer said.

Hospital staff reported bruising and trauma all over Celeste's body at the time of her death. Doctors believe she died before she even made it to the hospital.

Mercer never won her custody battle, but Jamie vows to win the battle to get her justice.

Wesley Lowe is still set to go to trial. He is charged with negligent homicide in the 5-year-old's death.

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