Crime Roundup: Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander, Rashad Owens, and Rahatul Khan

Natalie Sullivan

Several court cases related to the University and the Austin area have progressed over the summer. Below is an update on the status of three major cases:

Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander

The preliminary hearing for former Texas football players Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander, both of whom were charged with second-degree felonies for sexual assault, has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. on Sept. 2, according to Travis County court records. The date was rescheduled from Aug. 7 in order to ensure that both players had legal representation.

Sanders and Meander were arrested July 24 after allegedly sexually assaulting a female student in a campus dorm on June 21. According to UTPD Chief David Carter, both players were released later that day on bond because they did not pose a danger to other students. 

Immediately following the arrests, Texas head coach Charlie Strong suspended both players from the team for an indefinite amount of time. He then announced on Aug. 3 that they had been dismissed from the team because of the charges brought against them. 

Bail was set at $75,000 for both Meander and Sanders for one count of sexual assault each. Sanders has an additional bail of $20,000 for a charge of improper photography. If convicted, both players could face a sentence of up to 20 years and an additional fine of up to $10,000.

President William Powers Jr. said in a statement that the University has undertaken a Student Judicial Services review, which could result in the players’ expulsion from the University. 

Rashad Owens

Court dates for Rashad Owens have been pushed back four times since he was arrested in March. 

Owens was charged with capital murder after driving while drunk through a barrier on Red River Street during the South By Southwest festival last March, killing four people and injuring 20 others. 

Owens was originally scheduled to appear in court April 9, before his trial, but a number of no-shows and requests by his attorney have pushed the pretrial hearing back to 9 a.m. on Oct. 6. According to Janice Porter, Travis County court clerk, it could possibly be another year before Owens goes to trial. 

The charges against Owens include capital murder, four counts of felony murder and 24 counts of aggravated assault. Bond was set at $5.5 million.

Rahatul Khan

After pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy for attempting to provide terrorists with material support, UT student Rahatul Khan could face up to 15 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. At the plea hearing on July 2, Khan admitted to providing a recommendation to a co-conspirator about someone who wanted to engage in terrorist activities in Somalia. 

Khan was arrested by federal prosecutors in Round Rock on June 17, the same day as another conspirator, Michael Wolfe, was arrested in Houston and eventually given the same charge. Wolfe said he planned to travel to Syria and fight with a terrorist group linked to al-Qaida.

On June 20, Khan was officially indicted by a federal grand jury with the charge of conspiracy and waived his formal arraignment, or formal reading of criminal charges. He was scheduled to appear at a detention hearing to determine whether he could have been released on bond before his trial on June 30 but waived the right to that hearing also. 

On June 27, Wolfe pled guilty, and Khan pled guilty on July 2. Both are still in federal custody, pending sentencing before District Judge Sam Sparks in Austin. No sentencing date has been scheduled.