A parolee has pleaded guilty to murdering a Los Angeles County sheriff’s sergeant outside a Lancaster apartment complex in October 2016.
Trenton Trevon Lovell, 31, of Lancaster, is set to be sentenced May 17 to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the execution-style killing of Sgt. Steve Owen, 53, who was shot five times on Oct. 5, 2016, in the 3200 block of West Avenue J-6.
Owen—a 29-year department veteran who was well-known for his community involvement—was among those responding to a call of a possible burglary in progress nearby when he broadcast over the police radio that he had the suspect at gunpoint.
Lovell also pleaded guilty to a series of other crimes the same day of the sergeant’s killing. Those included an attempted murder charge for using Owen’s patrol car to ram sheriff’s Deputy Zachary Anderson’s patrol car, along with first-degree residential robbery and false imprisonment by violence for fleeing to a nearby home occupied by a 19-year-old woman and her 17-year-old brother, where Lovell holed up for about an hour before fleeing.
Prosecutors had opted not to seek the death penalty against Lovell.
At a June 2018 hearing in which Lovell was ordered to stand trial, Anderson testified that he heard three to four pops that sounded like gunfire before he arrived at the apartment complex.
“I saw Sergeant Owen laying on his back and a male Black standing over him,” the deputy testified before identifying Lovell in court.
Owen’s killing prompted an outpouring of support for his family and remembrances of his unwavering dedication to his job and commitment to the community. Law enforcement officers from as far away as New York and public officials, including then-Gov. Jerry Brown, attended his funeral service. A section of state Route 14 in the Antelope Valley was dedicated in his name on the one-year anniversary of his death. A park in Lancaster also bears his name.