In North Carolina, police have charged Robert “Jason” Owens with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of murder of an unborn child, breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering. According to Fox News, arrest warrants state that Owens “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did of malice afterthought kill and murder” Cristie and JT Codd and their unborn child on March 12th.
Cristie was a finalist from the TV show Food Network Star and was the head caterer in the upcoming action film Terminator Genisys with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Additionally, Cristie had worked with Will Smith on the movie, “Focus,” and served as head caterer for “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”
After the murder, Schwarzenegger tweeted his sympathies to Cristie’s family.
Speechless. Cristie wasn’t just part of the Terminator crew, she brought us together at meals like a family. Thoughts are w/ her loved ones.
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) March 18, 2015
Thankfully, North Carolina has a fetal homicide law that makes it a crime to unlawfully kill an unborn child carried in the womb at any stage of development. As LifeNews previously reported, the statute is called “Ethan’s Law,” named for the unborn son of Jennifer Neilson. Jennifer was eight and a half months pregnant with baby Ethan when she was stabbed to death while delivering newspapers. Her family was one of several families who were unable to seek justice under then-existing North Carolina criminal law for their unborn victims of homicide.
Mary Novick, a paralegal from Americans United for Life, said that North Carolina’s protection is broad and appropriate, going further than some of the other 36 states that recognize unborn victims under homicide laws.
A family member posted on Facebook that both Cristie and JT were scheduled to begin working on new movies on Sunday but neither made it to their destinations. The post stated that JT was scheduled to begin work in Los Angeles and that Cristie was due to begin work in Biloxi, MS.
Neighbors said Owens worked as a handyman and often did repair work for the Codds. Deputies said Owens was also a suspect in the January 2000 disappearance of Asheville teenager Zebb Quinn. That case remains unsolved.
Read more about the Quinn case here.
Only FOX Carolina’s cameras were present when Owens made his first appearance in court Tuesday morning (Watch the exclusive raw video here). A judge read the charges against Owens and apprised him of the penalties he could face if convicted.
The judge stated that the maximum penalty Owens could face for each murder charge is death or life in prison without parole. Owens requested a court-appointed attorney and a follow up court date was scheduled for April. The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office said a press conference will be held Friday at 2 p.m. to address the arrest of Owens and the deaths of the Codds and their unborn child.