Three Men Arrested After Rock the South Fest Assault
Three men were arrested and charged with assault after a brutal beating at Rock the South music festival on Saturday (July 22).
William Joseph Vinson Jr., 20, of Harvest, Ala., Zachary Scott Taylor, 21, of Athens, Ala. and Chance Marcus Alan Starling, 20, of Toney, Ala. were arrested and charged with second degree assault for the attack on Reid Watts, an 18-year-old who was attending the concert with his girlfriend.
She described a scene where they were accused of spilling drinks on the men. He'd later say he thought he'd settled the disagreement peacefully, only to be ambushed him from behind with several men kicking him in the back and head repeatedly until he lost consciousness.
The assault charge is a felony, with each man facing between one and 10 years in prison if found guilty.
Cullman Police Chief David Nassetta announced the charges during a press conference on Wednesday morning (July 26). He'd add that while he couldn't speak on what prompted the attack, it stemmed from a "frivolous" and "meaningless" reason.
"Nothing can really justify something like that, but in this particular incident, it was something that normally should not rise to the level of violence,” Nassetta said. “And it speaks to the level of character of these individuals we arrested."
Social media videos proved to be critical in identifying the men involved. A warrant was issued and all were arrested by 5:30PM on Tuesday night.
A $10,000 reward was offered by Rock the South for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the men involved. Watts' mother Kaci Howard identified her son as the one attacked in the video and kept people updated on his health on social media.
"They continued beating him while he was on the ground until security finally got to them and got Reid and Katie out of there and to an ambulance," Howard explains. "He has a fractured nose, concussion, stitches, knots the size of softballs on the back of his head. He never even saw it coming."
Rock the South organizer Nathan Baugh expressed his disgust at the attack and emphasized that incidents like this are not typical of a festival now in its 12th year. Chief Nassetta amplified that message.