Encinitas man ordered to face trial in girlfriend’s death
A 41-year-old man accused of killing his girlfriend in their shared Encinitas home last year then trying to secure permission to travel to Israel as her body lay undiscovered for several days was ordered Thursday, Jan. 23, to stand trial on a murder charge.
Henry Simon Cowen, whose last name has also been listed in court documents as Cowan, faces 55 years to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Sabrina Lukosky, who was missing for more than two weeks before she was found dead.
Cowen, known to friends as “Israel,” was in Vista court Thursday, Jan. 23, for his preliminary hearing, at the end of which, Superior Court Judge Carlos Armour found enough evidence to order Cowen to face trial.
According to witnesses who took the stand Thursday, Jan. 23, neighbors near the couple’s home — a granny flat behind Cowen’s mother’s home — had previously heard screaming and doors slamming at the flat. One said he heard Cowen yelling at the victim and saw him pull her from her SUV.
One of Cowen’s friends testified that, not long before Lukosky went unaccounted for, he’d seen her with bruises under her eyes and told the couple they should split. He also said she appeared to be “very scared.”
According to authorities, Lukosky’s mother last heard from her daughter in a phone call on Sept. 20. Just shy of two weeks later, on Oct. 3, the mother called authorities and asked them to check on her.
Deputies went to the Encinitas residence Lukosky shared with Cowen and saw her car parked in front of the main home. Both testified Thursday, Jan. 23, that they smelled the stench of decomposing flesh.
Five days later, on Oct. 8, deputies armed with a search warrant kicked in the door to the granny flat, where they found Lukosky’s body on the bed. She had been dead for more than two weeks.
The autopsy revealed that she had been strangled. Also, several of her ribs had been broken, including one that punctured her lung, and she had a gash on her forehead, according to testimony.
A warrant for Cowen’s arrest was issued Oct. 11. He was found and arrested in Riverside County. According to testimony from one of the investigators, Cowen had spent a few days there in late September with a former girlfriend and her mother.
From there, he spent time with another ex-girlfriend — with whom he has three children — in Riverside County. While with that woman, her father drove him to the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles to get permission to travel there. When Cowen learned it would take months to get the OK, he considered instead taking a train to New York, the investigator testified.
According to testimony, Cowen told his ex-girlfriend’s father that he needed to leave because Nazis and white supremacists were after him.
Deputy District Attorney Marnie Layon has previously said that Cowen has a history of violence, including a 1998 assault conviction that counts as a strike on his record.
In 2015, the Union-Tribune wrote about Lukosky, a long-time merchant of local produce, flowers and honey, when she teamed up with a butterfly advocate to open a butterfly flight house at her roadside shop in Bonsall.
— Teri Figueroa is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune
Sign up for the Encinitas Advocate newsletter
Top stories from Encinitas every Friday.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Encinitas Advocate.