Court upholds murder conviction in 2014 SXSW crash

AUSTIN - On Wednesday, a Texas appeals court upheld the murder conviction against Rashad Owens, the man convicted after a car crash killed four people waiting outside a venue during SXSW in 2014.

Owens was found guilty in November 2015 of capital murder and sentenced to life without parole.

According to our news partners at the Austin American-Statesman, Owens asked the 3rd Court of Appeals to overturn the conviction, saying that it was not supported by evidence that he knowingly acted in a manner likely to cause death when he struck a crowd of people after driving around a barricade while being pursued by police officers.

The report states that instead, Owens claimed the evidence showed that he intended only to evade police and that he drove recklessly while intoxicated.

According to court documents, the district court held that there was no reversible error in its judgment, but did notice an error requiring correction, modifying the judgment to reflect that the "Degree of Offense" was a capital felony.

In January, a Travis County judge dismissed a civil lawsuit regarding the crash, alleging that the City of Austin and SXSW organizers did not do enough to protect them before Owens drove into the crowd. Another civil lawsuit against the festival and traffic planners was also dismissed in October 2016.

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