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AUSTIN (KRLD-AM) – 23-year-old Rashad Owens was found guilty Friday of capital murder for killing four people when he tried to evade police and drove a car into the crowd at last year’s SXSW music festival.
He’s been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
It took the jury less than 3 hours of deliberations to decide that he knowingly caused the deaths of Jamie West, Steven Craenmehr, Sandy Le and De’Andre Tatum.
According to Assistant District Attorney Amy Meredith, Owens actions were intentional.
“He knew what he was doing that night; as soon as he turned that corner and hit person after person after person, killing four young people.”
The 7 women and 5 men on the Travis County jury believed a reasonable person would have stopped after hearing the first thump on their hood.
They didn’t buy the argument of Owens Attorney Rickey Jones that it was an accident fueled by a combination of alcohol, high speed, no headlights and the police chasing him. “We don’t know where in the one to three seconds (That it took for Owens to drive down Red River Street from 9th Street to 11th Street) he perceived OH MY GOD, THESE ARE PEOPLE…or if he ever perceived it.
“Like Detective Harrington said, you can go through me without even knowing I was there if you are moving fast enough…and we know he was moving.”
Harrington estimated Owens got the car up to 55 mph on the two block stretch.
The guilty verdict means Owens is automatically sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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