Police have a suspect in custody for the SXSW car accident that left two festival attendees dead and over 20 others injured. Rashad Charjuan Owens, a 21-year-old rapper from Killeen, TX, was actually slated to perform at the festival. Instead, he’s facing capital murder charges. Per The Austin American-Statesman:
“His brother, Lamar Wilson, told the American-Statesman that he last saw Owens on Wednesday evening before his show at Club 1808 near 12th and Chicon streets. Owens, whose stage name is KillingAllBeatz or K.A.B254, was the father of six young children, one of whom lives in Alaska, Wilson said.
“Austin police have said that capital murder charges will be filed against the 21-year-old suspected drunken driver, who they say plowed through a crowd of South by Southwest festival-goers early Thursday morning in downtown Austin, killing at least two people.
“Police Chief Art Acevedo said the man will face two charges of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault. Police officials confirmed the identity of the suspect to the American-Statesman just before noon Thursday.”
According to the AP, Owens had been arrested previously for drunk driving while he lived in Alaska.
His stage name aside, the biggest striking point here is the charges Owens will face. First and foremost, drunk driving is a terrible crime that always doesn’t get punished as severely as it should. However, capital murder is a huge deal and carries with it heavy penalties, versus charging him with vehicular manslaughter.
Maybe prosecutors are bidding high and settling for a lesser charge? Or maybe it’s because the crime did so much damage and drew nationwide attention? I’m not all that well versed in the letter of the law – especially not Texas law – so anyone with insights, feel free to chime in via the comments section.