BEAUFORT, SC (Jan. 24, 2020) – A 48-year-old Lady’s Island man has been convicted of harassing an ex-girlfriend.
Jason John Owen, 48, was found guilty Thursday of first-degree harassment. He received the maximum sentence for the offense, five years.
“The victim in this case worried things would continue to escalate,” said Julie Butner of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “The defendant went to great and unrelenting lengths to torment this woman and her family.”
After the victim ended the relationship in 2016 and moved away to escape, Owen drove more than 600 miles to her new home, bearing roses, pictures and cards. He returned to Beaufort and continued harassing her by sending unwanted mail; hacking her email and bank accounts; and making “spoof” calls to her and her family members. Owen left roses outside the Beaufort home of the victim’s elderly mother when the victim was in town visiting.
The woman’s move to another state is not uncommon. One in seven stalking victims move as a result of their victimization, according to The Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center.
Owen was on probation when arrested. He had previous convictions for larceny, driving under the influence, first-degree harassment and a probation revocation.
Owen was originally charged with stalking. The jury returned a guilty verdict for harassment following a two-day trial in Beaufort County General Sessions Court.
At the sentencing, the woman told the judge: “For years, I have been a victim, but tonight, as of 9 p.m, I am a survivor.”
Circuit Court Judge Jocelyn Newman handed down Thursday’s sentence.
Butner is a member of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Special Victims Unit, which prosecutes cases involving domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and other crimes against vulnerable populations.
January is National Stalking Awareness Month. To learn more, go to stalkingawareness.org. Call law enforcement if you feel you are in immediate danger. For other assistance, call the 14th Circuit Victims Services Center at (843) 790-6220 or 1-800-868-2632.
The Solicitor’s Office and its nonprofit partners operate the 14th Circuit Victims Services Center, which can arrange shelter, counseling, legal assistance and other services of domestic violence, sexual assault and similar crimes. Services are available even to those whose abusers have not been charged with a crime.