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Eric McGowen is no longer a free man. The 20-year-old fled the courtroom during his trial, stemming from the 2010 rape of an 11-year-old girl, and was captured by U.S. Marshals, Tuesday (Sept. 11).

According to Alfredo Perez, spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals Service, McGowen was apprehended at an apartment in northeast Houston. Members of the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force swarmed in on the criminal, who did not put up a fight. He was turned over to Texas Rangers and transported back to Liberty County.

Authorities had been searching for him since Aug. 29, when he walked out of the trial, on the same day that his victim gave her tearful testimony of being s-xually assaulted by more than a dozen men. McGowen is accused of having intercourse with the now teenager, and was not required to be followed by guards during the trial because he was out on bail. Prosecutors used witness testimony, and a videotaped confession to build a case against McGowen. In spite of his absence, the court proceedings moved forward. He was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 99 years in prison.

As the first defendant to stand trial in the case, McGowen was one of 20 other men accused of participating in the heinous act. Six of the juveniles involved, and two adults charged all pleaded guilty. Since the conviction was handed down, four other adults accused have pleaded guilty.

Police opened the investigation after on of the girl’s classmates told a teacher that she saw a video of the victim being assaulted in an abandoned trailer.


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Photo: AP

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