State College man pleads guilty to illegally possessing firearms

A State College man has admitted that he illegally possessed firearms and could receive a prison sentence of up to one year.

Dennis Eugene Lowe, 66, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. Middle District Court before Magistrate Judge William I. Arbuckle III. As a convicted felon, Lowe cannot legally possess guns.

Judge John E. Jones III will sentence Lowe after the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

More than three dozen weapons and approximately 2,000 rounds of ammunition were found in Lowe’s home during a search on July 22, 2010. He had been under surveillance because his son, Ethan, who is not charged, bought eight weapons several days earlier.

Lowe is facing a maximum of 10 years in prison, but the government said it will recommend a sentence at the low end of the guidelines once it is determined what applies in this case. Lowe, who remains free on personal recognizance, also is giving up his appeal rights. Lowe’s previous convictions were for multiple drunken-driving offenses.

Also awaiting sentencing is Lowe’s friend, Diane Sawyer, who previously pleaded guilty to making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.

She admitted that when attempting to buy three rifles and two pistols at Nittany Firearms Centre in December 2009, she did not acknowledge she had been committed to a mental institution 10 years earlier.

Lowe has agreed to forfeit all the weapons and ammunition found in his home, and those guns belonging to others will be returned to them, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Simmers said.