York City murderer Juan Santiago gets life in prison

  • A York City man was found guilty of first degree murder of a man in January 2016.
  • Juan Abel Santiago, 23, was sentenced to life in prison.
Juan Santiago

A York City man will spend the rest of his life in prison after he was found guilty of murdering a man during a robbery early last year.

On Friday, Sept. 15, after five days of trial, jurors found Juan Santiago, 23, guilty of the murder of Dontay Lamar Lowrie. 

Lowrie, 21, of the 400 block of West Princess Street, was fatally shot after being driven to the 400 block of Park Street, near Farquhar Park, shortly after 2 p.m. Jan. 28, 2016, to meet with someone.

He died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the York County Coroner's Office.

Santiago was arrested Feb. 1, 2016, and charged with Lowrie's slaying. 

Santiago was found guilty of first- and second-degree murder and robbery.

Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook sentenced Santiago to life in prison, online court records indicate. A first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Neither Santiago's attorney nor the prosecutor could be reached for comment Friday.

Officials have said Santiago and his victim were involved in a shootout in York City in April 2014. Santiago had been out of prison for about a month when he fatally shot Lowrie.

More:Life sentence for 'selfish coward' York City murderer

Background: Police said Lowrie had his girlfriend drive him to Park Street on Jan. 28, 2016, because he intended to get money from a man who lives in that area.

Once there, Lowrie opened his car door and started talking with a man, according to police, who said the exchange appeared to be friendly.

That's when Santiago approached the car, calling Lowrie a "f—ing snitch," charging documents state.

Santiago and the man who'd been speaking with Lowrie both pulled out guns, demanded cash and robbed Lowrie before Santiago shot him, documents state. Lowrie's girlfriend drove him to York Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

History with victim: According to police, Lowrie and Santiago were both involved in a shootout in the 100 block of Hamilton Avenue on April 3, 2014. At the time, the two were apparently friendly, police said.

Shortly after 1 p.m. that day, multiple gunshots were fired in the area, creating a half-block-long crime scene, police said. A house in the block had 13 bullet holes in its exterior walls, and several parked vehicles were struck by bullets, court records state.

Police collected numerous spent shell casings in the block as well as a sawed-off shotgun, records state. Investigators said it appeared at least two guns were involved, with some bullets being fired eastward and others being fired westward.

Dontay Lowrie

After the gunfire, Lowrie, Santiago and a third man were seen running into the home of Lowrie's grandfather in the 300 block of North Beaver Street, police said.

Both Lowrie and Santiago suffered multiple gunshot wounds during the shootout, according to police.

Officers arrested Santiago a short time later and found 16 .32-caliber bullets in Santiago's right rear pants pocket, documents state. A .32-caliber handgun was later found hidden under a couch cushion in the home, with the same ammunition in it as officers found in Santiago's pants, police said.

He had $821 in his pocket, despite working at a fast-food restaurant, according to police, and was in possession of 2.2 grams of cocaine, police said. At the time, Santiago denied selling or using drugs.

In November 2014, he pleaded guilty to cocaine possession with intent to deliver and being in illegal possession of a firearm and was sentenced to three to six years in state prison, records state.

Santiago was paroled from a state prison boot camp Dec. 29, 2015, according to Susan McNaughton, press secretary for the state Department of Corrections. 

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.