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Texas Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for SXSW Accident

Olivia Finger11 months ago

Four people were killed last year after a man drove his car into a crowd at a South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. The man in question, Rashad Owens, 23, was found guilty by a Texas jury of capital murder.

About Owens’ Trial and Sentence

Reuters reports that Owens was sentence to life in prison without parole, several news stations reported.

The court case was not filled to name Owens for the murders but whether or not to classify it as capital murder. Owens did not get the chance to testify; however, police ran tape that showed Owens saying, “I should have just stopped” and “Did I kill anybody? I promise I didn’t mean to kill anybody if I did”.

Prosecutors claim Owens acted with intent and malice when he flew at 55 miles per hour down city blocks without stopping, wounding 30 people, some of whom were waiting in lines to get into night clubs.

He continued driving until his car crashed. He fled the vehicle where police were forced to pursue him on foot. He was caught shortly after.

Defense Questions Owens’ Intent

Owens defense attorneys say he intended not to kill, but panicked when police began to chase after him.

Owens, however, was intoxicated, and evaded a police checkpoint. Marc Chavez, prosecutor, said Owens could hear an audible thud from the initial six victims, and he should have stopped then.

“You don’t floor it. How in the world do you go 99 percent throttle after that?” Chavez said.

Jamie West, 27, and Steven Craenmehr, 35, died at the scene. Sandy Thuy Le, 26 and DeAndre Tatum, 18, died roughly a week after the incident.

Owens appeared to hold back tears when families were allowed to address him, following the sentence.

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