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Students call for stricter gun laws at Southwest Austin middle school during walkout

Man found guilty of murder in 2016 shooting amid dispute over car


Highlights

Damon Fowler, 38, faces up to life in prison when a jury sentences him on Thursday.

Fowler’s brother, who was originally charged with murder in the shooting, testified against him.

A Travis County jury found a man guilty of murder Wednesday for shooting a man to death in 2016 near Decker Lake.

In closing arguments in state District Court, prosecutors said all evidence pointed to Damon Fowler, who intervened in a dispute between his then-girlfriend and 24-year-old Kennie Crockett, as the one firing the fatal shot. In his defense, Fowler’s attorneys had pointed the finger at his brother.

But prosecutors said the brother had no reason to shoot Crockett.

“Only one man had the motive to do so,” prosecutor Jeremy Sylestine said.

Fowler, 38, fled for three weeks after the shooting before surrendering to authorities. He will be sentenced Thursday and faces up to life in prison. The jury took spent about 90 minutes in deliberations before returning the guilty verdict.

On the day of the shooting, police said, Crockett and a friend followed Fowler’s girlfriend, whom he has since married, as she drove Fowler and another man into Eagle’s Landing Apartments, in the 8000 block of Decker Lane. Crockett co-owned the car, a Toyota Camry, with her, but he felt he had been denied access to it, according to an arrest affidavit and witness testimony.

Crockett, who was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher as he rode, said he had been in a physical altercation days earlier in which Fowler punched him.

According to the prosecutor’s star witness, the Camry stopped and Fowler got out and went to the driver’s side of the car in which Crockett was a passenger. Witnesses said Fowler tried to enter the car via the driver’s door but it was locked. Fowler’s older brother Donald Perkins, who lived at the apartments, testified that he saw Fowler with a gun.

Investigators said the bullet hit the driver’s side headrest — missing the man who was behind the wheel — and traveled down into Crockett’s shoulder. Prosecutor Michelle Hallee told jurors the bullet’s path shows either the shooter was standing next to the car or farther away “on a super tall ladder.”

Perkins originally was also charged with Crockett’s murder and served nearly a year in jail before prosecutors dropped charges in July in exchange for his testimony. Perkins said he was several feet from the car when he heard the gunshot. He said he was outside waiting for his young daughter when the two vehicles pulled up and the confrontation began.

Fowler’s attorney, Joe Sawyer, told jurors his client is innocent and suggested the real killer is Perkins.

“Who’s to be believed?” he said.

But Sylestine dismissed that argument as a “finely worded and cleverly crafted trap.”

Fowler avoided police for three weeks before agreeing to an interview with a sheriff’s office investigator on Sept. 9, 2016. In a recording of the conversation, Fowler says he took off running after he heard shots.

“I don’t know who shot him, to be honest with you,” he said.

Fowler told the investigator he took so long to turn himself in because he wanted to celebrate his birthday and find an attorney. Yet he had not hired an attorney at the time of the interview, the investigator testified Wednesday.



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