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Augusta Murder Victim Starred in Netflix Series About His Mother

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The Augusta man who was fatally shot in the middle of Washington Road early Wednesday was the same man who starred in a Netflix series about his mother.

John Lowden Jr., 38, of Deer Chase Lane, was fatally shot in the eastbound lanes on the 2800 block of Washington Road in Augusta. Deputies responded at 2:24 a.m. Wednesday and found the victim lying in the eastbound right lane, and he was pronounced dead. A murder suspect has been identified, but he has not been arrested, authorities said.

Lowden is reportedly a former Green Beret in the Army who was a Special Forces weapon sergeant with five combat deployments to Afghanistan and a deployment to Honduras. He made local headlines when he jumped from an ambulance on Nov. 19 on the way to a mental health facility in Augusta. Dressed in blue scrubs, he fled the ambulance on St. Sebastian Way at Walton Way and ran off. He was captured four days later and booked into the jail for an order to show cause warrant. At the time, he was listed as homeless.

Lowden starred as himself in a “Killer Sally,” a 2022 Netflix series about his mother, Sally McNeil. The series includes interviews with friends, family and McNeil herself. The series charts her rocky marriage with Ray McNeil and its shocking end in her husband’s Valentine’s Day murder. Sally McNeil’s children John and Shantina Lowden (from a previous relationship) also recall in the series what it was like to grow up with Ray McNeil as their stepfather and the day their mother shot him.

According to Wikipedia, Sally McNeil is an American former sergeant, professional female bodybuilder and muscle worship practitioner, who was convicted for the murder of her husband Ray McNeil, a Mr. Olympia competitor.

Sally called 911 in February 1995, telling them: “I just shot my husband because he just beat me up.” Earlier in the night, Ray was on a date with Marianne Myers, a fellow member of Golds Gym, instead of Sally on Valentine’s Day.

Sally was about to go out and find where Ray was, but he turned up after 9:15pm. Sally claimed and maintains that she shot Ray in self-defense when he, spurred by road rage, began choking her after she accused him of adultery.

The police transcript reads that Ray, “slapped her, pushed her down on the floor, and started choking her. McNeil squirmed away, ran into the bedroom, and took her sawed-off shotgun out of its case in the closet.” Sally then shot Ray twice: once in the abdomen and once in the jaw.

She was paroled in 2020.

Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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