Rashad Owens, the 23-year-old rapper who drove his car into a crowd of people outside Austin venue the Mohawk while attempting to escape from police and killed four people, has been sentence to life in prison for capital murder, the Austin-American Statesman reports.
The Killeen, Texas native was also found guilty on four counts of felony murder after just three hours of deliberation. To find someone guilty of capital murder, the jury had to unanimously agree that Owens “intentionally or knowingly caused the death of two or more people.” The sentence carries no possibility of parole.
Owens’ lawyers argued in court that Owens didn’t intend to harm anyone and that the deaths were accidental, but evidence shows Owens didn’t slow down once he started hitting people. In fact, he may have accelerated to 55 miles per hour.
Prosecutor Amy Meredith said an officer had been trying to conduct a simple traffic stop when Owens refused to comply and fled. She argued that since Owens had the wherewithal to turn on his blinker and swerve around a parked car in his way, "there is no other answer than that the defendant knew what he was doing - and he didn't care."
Defense lawyers Russell Hunt and Rick Jones said Owens did not know the street had been closed off to traffic when he sped down it without headlights on. "We don't know at what point Mr. Owens perceived what was in front of him," Jones said. "We don't know what time he had to react."
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