St. Louis Man Is Innocent in 36-Year-Old Rape Case, Lawyers Say

The St. Louis Circuit Attorney is now reviewing the case of Fredrico Lowe-Bey, who remains in prison

May 17, 2024 at 6:15 am
Fredrico Lowe-Bey has been in prison for rape since 1989 — but lawyers say he has a strong innocence claim.
Fredrico Lowe-Bey has been in prison for rape since 1989 — but lawyers say he has a strong innocence claim. COURTESY PHOTO

The St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office has agreed to review the 1988 rape conviction of a man whose attorneys say was targeted by police.

Fredrico Lowe-Bey has been in prison for more than 30 years after being found guilty of raping a woman who was abducted in the early morning hours of May 21, 1988, in the city’s Tiffany neighborhood. The victim had gotten into a fight with her boyfriend and began walking home, but a man pulled up in a car, jumped out and dragged her into an alley, where he sexually assaulted her.

Lowe-Bey, then 27, was arrested the next day after the victim identified him, saying she recognized him ""from the neighborhood." By the end of the year, he had been found guilty on three counts related to the attack, including forcible rape, forcible sodomy and tampering with a witness, and sentenced to 85 years in prison.

However, Lowe-Bey's attorneys now say that he was targeted by two police officers, Rubin Haman and James Long, with whom he'd had prior run-ins.

Jamala Rogers, the executive director of Organization for Black Struggle, a criminal justice reform organization, says that the two arresting officers had it out for Lowe-Bey because he was a member of the Moorish Science Temple of America, an organization whose activities law enforcement have historically taken a keen interest in.

Lowe-Bey's legal team includes Centurion Ministries, a New Jersey-based nonprofit, and Rick Sindel, a St. Louis-based attorney with a long history of post-conviction appeals.

A press release from Lowe-Bey's attorneys says the two officers who arrested him for the rape had previously arrested him on "trumped-up" narcotics charges, a case that fell apart when it went to trial. Lowe-Bey had also previously filed an internal affairs complaint against the two men.

The 1988 rape arrest, Lowe-Bey's attorneys say, was the result of Haman and Long's "one year campaign to secure revenge on Lowe-Bey." 

The jury in 1988 was not allowed to hear about Lowe-Bey's previous drug arrest by the two officers and the subsequent acquittal.

The attorneys also say that when evidence in the rape case was tested for DNA, there were no matches to Lowe-Bey. The victim in the case also reported her attacker had "scary" freckles; Lowe-Bey's features are unfreckled.

Rogers says that during the case, the victim became a "pawn" of the prosecution. She has since passed, leaving what Lowe-Bey's attorneys say is "a travesty of justice behind for a new circuit attorney to sort out."

Lowe-Bey's legal team previously presented the case for review to the Circuit Attorney's Office when it was run by Kim Gardner, to no avail.

Under current Circuit Attorney Gabe Gore, the Conviction Integrity Unit is run by retired Missouri Supreme Court Justice George Draper.

Asked whether Gore's office is taking wrongful conviction reviews seriously, Rogers says, "We'll see."

Christine Bertelson, a spokeswoman for Gore's office, confirms that the Conviction Integrity Unit agreed to review the case, saying, "There is no timetable for the review process, which is just beginning."

In 1991, the officers behind Lowe-Bey's arrest, Haman and Long, were at the center of a police brutality lawsuit after roughing up a 22-year-old woman while arresting her in the Fox Park neighborhood. A jury awarded the woman $10,000 in damages.


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