VADNAIS HEIGHTS — A Maplewood woman pleaded guilty to gross misdemeanor negligent storage of a firearm in Ramsey County District Court on Aug. 5.
Lisa Marie Stowe, 42, was charged last spring after unsecured, loaded guns were found in her Vadnais Heights home the same week her son was suspended from the Academy for Sciences and Agriculture (AFSA) for an alleged school shooting threat. A deputy visited the student's home in Vadnais Heights March 1, 2018 and Stowe said there were no weapons in the home, according to court documents. However, a search warrant was obtained March 2 and a deputy found the student home alone with unsecured, loaded weapons.
Stowe's husband Christopher was also arrested and charged with gross misdemeanor negligent storage of a firearm and two weapons-related felonies, as the guns were his. The felony charges were dropped after further investigation. The short-barreled shotgun was determined not to be one. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) determined that the other gun in question was semi-automatic, not fully automatic. The gross misdemeanor charge was dropped by the county attorney's office because the state does not have jurisdiction to prosecute a misdemeanor without accompanying felony-level charges, according to court documents. (City attorneys charge misdemeanors and county attorneys charge felonies).
The Vadnais Heights city attorney's office charged Stowe with gross misdemeanor negligent storage of a firearm in April. A court hearing is scheduled Sept. 16.
Lisa Stowe pleaded not guilty July 17 and a jury trial was scheduled. A plea agreement was reached and she pleaded guilty before the trial began. Her plea agreement includes a two-year stay of adjudication, which means the offense would not stay on her record if she completes terms of the agreement. Terms include no similar offenses and forfeiting five guns and 50 rounds of ammunition, according to court documents. Christopher would also have to agree to the forfeiture. She will be sentenced Sept. 30.
The Stowe family had a four-generation collection of guns because they have fought for the country in multiple wars, said grandfather Mark Stowe in an interview last spring. Lisa and Christopher have taken advanced gun training, have conceal-and-carry permits and are members of the National Rifle Association.