A 20-year-old Cleveland, Texas man is on the run after he skipped out on his trial for participating in the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl, two years ago. Eric McGowen left court during a break in court proceedings Wednesday (Aug. 29) and hasn't been seen since.
Closing arguments in the case were delivered a day later.
Since he was technically out on $35,000 bail, security was not required follow him out of the building, but District Judge Mark Morefield has now raised the amount to $250,000 after ordering that he be arrested.
McGowen is accused of attacking the girl, alongside more than a dozen other men and boys on as many as five occasions. Six juveniles and two adults have all pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges.
The girl was assaulted from mid-September through early December in 2010.
Jennifer Pollock, one of the witnesses called in the case, examined the girl and testified that DNA findings concluded that McGowen was among those involved. The girl also told authorities that she had sex with McGowen, who assaulted her with a beer bottle.
Authorities began investigating the case after one of the girl's friends said she had cell phone footage of her being assaulted in an abandoned trailer.
All 20 suspects accused in the incidents are Black men, while the victim is Hispanic.
Lawyers for McGowen called no witnesses in the case. He is facing life in prison.
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