James Mallin and Audrey Lowndes posed for photos around 6 p.m. on April 14. The pictures show a happy couple, dressed up to attend a church service. Twenty-four hours later, Mallin would be in a holding cell at the Garfield County Jail and Lowndes would be pronounced dead at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.
A forensics report is pending and the investigation is ongoing, but in the meantime, the Ninth District Attorney’s office determined there wasn’t enough evidence to hold Mallin. He was released on April 22. Since then Mallin, 28, who is known to his friends by his middle name, McCabe, has been picking up the pieces and trying to explain how things got here from there.
Lowndes returned from the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation “super happy but exhausted as well”, Mallin said. “She was excited to go, but also nervous because she hadn’t actually been to a service at her church in six years or so,” he explained.
Mallin’s father, Jeffrey, was in town and had joined them at the service. He accompanied the pair back to their home in South Glenwood, and they made food and “started just casually drinking and watching TV.”
Sometime after their roommate, Eric Satre, returned home, Mallin says Lowndes’ mood changed. “She was keeping to herself in her bedroom,” he recalled, “which is not abnormal for her.”
Around midnight, as a lunar eclipse darkened the sky, Mallin went to go check on Lowndes. “I just went to go and check on her and found her holding a gun,” he said. “I tried to speak with her for a bit of time to just have her put it down, let it go, let me have it. I had no idea if it was loaded or not. It usually isn’t — she had to have done that herself.”
Due to the ongoing investigation, Mallin declined to elaborate on what happened next beyond his testimony, which already has been reported in the police affidavit. It states that he jumped on to the bed, grabbed the butt of the gun and was trying to pull it away when it fired. Lowndes was struck in the right rear side of her head.
“Immediately I checked her pulse and breathing and had to start doing CPR,” Mallin recalled. “When the police finally got here I was still administering CPR, but I stopped as soon as I had a bunch of automatic weapons pointed at me.”
Mallin says we was cuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car while they waited for an ambulance. “The police department responded basically on their little knowledge of the situation, but I wish an ambulance had been there with them,” he reflected. Lowndes was transported to Valley View Hospital and later flown to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. Mallin was booked at the Garfield County Jail.
The warrant for Mallin’s arrest listed first degree attempted murder, first degree assault, prohibited use of weapons, and reckless endangerment. “I was floored. I couldn’t believe it,” Mallin said. “I felt terrible about the fact that I was in police custody instead of being able to go to Grand Junction and hold her hand while she was in her hospital bed.”
Lowndes passed away at 6:16 p.m. on April 15. Mallin remained incarcerated without official charges for another week with very little contact with the outside world except through his attorneys.
As soon as he was released, he was bombarded by calls from friends. “The amount of support I received, and still am, is incredible,” Mallin said. “They were all behind me, thinking there was absolutely no way I would commit a crime like that. It made me feel much, much better about this tragic situation.”
An online obituary from Lowndes’ brother, Tasker, echoes that sentiment. “We could not believe McCabe to be capable of such a crime, and we still hold firmly to that belief,” it reads, calling the incident “a very tragic accident.”
Mallin has been using the time since his release to pack up some of Lowndes’ belongings to send to her family. He’s also packing for himself. His home in South Glenwood holds “too much memory.”
As for the pictures taken of the couple that evening, Mallin said he was glad to see it shared. “They tell a great story of how happy the both of us were,” he reflected.