Crime

Man Who Drove His Car Into SXSW Crowd Convicted Of Capital Murder

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Rashad OwensRashad Owens

The man who drove his car into a crowd of people at the 2014 SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas, has been found guilty of capital murder.

Rashad Owens was given life in prison for the killing of four people and injuring of 20 others, KVUE reports.

Owens was caught on video speeding his Honda Civic into a crowd of people at the festival, according to reports. Bodies hit his windshield and were thrown into the air as he tried to flee from police. Owens was under the influence of alcohol at the time.

Witnesses said Owens never once slowed down or stopped his vehicle.

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The sentence given to Owens is the highest offense ever dealt to anyone arrested in a fatal drunken driving crash in Austin, Statesman reports.

Owens reportedly cried when family members and victims took the stand to address him directly after the verdict was read.

"Her husband is broken beyond repair," said the mother of slain Jamie West, Shon Cook. “I pray to God that he heal a little bit. He is a strong person but he is so broken. I am so broken. She was beautiful and she had a beautiful spirit. I’m sad. I’m broken and hurt and I’m mad. Why did I have to lose my baby!?”

"She was a very beautiful girl, very spirited, very happy and kind," said Pauline Le, the sister of victim Sandy Le.

“I hope your life ends in the confinement of cement walls,”  Pauline added, reported Statesman. “I hope you sit there and remember everything you did to Sandy.”

Prosecutors told KVUE it was the video evidence that helped the jury reach a quick verdict in the case.

"They couldn’t get past the video, that it was all caught on the video," prosecutor Marc Chavez said.

Owens’s attorney, Rickey Jones, said his client is remorseful and wrote a letter of apology that he was unable to share in court, reported KVUE. 

Sources: Statesman, KVUE / Photo credit: KVUE