AUSTIN, Texas— It was a very emotional day for the family members of victims, as the guilty verdict came down for Rashad Owens charged with the death of four people during the 2014 South by Southwest crash.
During the trial, Owens rarely showed any emotion. He finally broke Friday afternoon as family members of those who died and those who were injured got their time to speak to him.
Shon Cook, whose daughter was killed in March 2014, was one of many to take the stand after the guilty verdict came down.
“I’m sad, I’m broken, and I am hurt, and I am mad. Why did I have to lose my baby?” Cook’s daughter, Jamie West, was one of four who died in the March 2014 crash. “She had a family who loved her immensely. Her nieces and her nephews ran to see her when she would come home. They ran and knocked her over because they love her so much.”
Others, during the allocution, wanted Owens to know how their lives have been changed forever.
“My parents have spent nearly every single day at the cemetery next to her, keeping her gravesite clean. She had a kindness in her heart, in that little tiny body you plowed through, and was [an] infinite better person than you'll ever be,” said Pauline Le, whose sister, Sandy Le, was also killed.
Some who survived wanted Owens to know what they went through that night. Maria Belyaeva, who was there on that night in March, said she will never be able to forget.
“He tried to walk towards me and fell, and the paramedics caught him. The one that was taking me to the ambulance told me I couldn’t see him, just an awful memory. It's something I am going to remember for the rest of my life,” Belyaeva said.
Jaqueline Longhurst was walking with her boyfriend when she was hit. “I woke up in the middle of the street in the intersection screaming that I didn’t want to die,” she said.
Greg Cerna spoke about his gratefulness of not being able to remember that night.
“I can’t believe, I still can’t believe this happened. Honestly, I am kind of thankful that I don’t have to deal with that memory for the rest of my life,” Cerna said.
The mother of one of the victims recited the same prayer that Owens did after his arrest. “That audio haunts my mind, and I want these people to hear my voice saying that pray, not yours for the last time in this room,” said May Endres.
While no one showed any pity for Owens, they did have compassion for his family.
”I do pray for your mother, and I pray for your grandmother, and your father, and your family. They lost you, too, they lost you, too,” said Cook.