Thursday, September 13, 2012
A black man who was a fugitive for almost two weeks after fleeing his trial a day before being convicted in the repeated group sexual assault of an 11-year-old Texas girl, smiled as he was led into court to be sentenced to 99 years without parole
Dressed in a red jumpsuit, handcuffed and with a chain around his waist and legs, Eric McGowen was formally sentenced in the same courtroom from which he had fled on August 29, 2012. McGowen was one of 20 black men and boys who repeatedly sexually assaulted the girl on at least five occasions from mid-September through early December of 2010. He was the first defendant to stand trial in the case. He has been convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child and was sentenced him in absentia. Before his trial, all six juveniles and two of the 14 adults charged had pleaded guilty. Since McGowen's conviction, four other adults have pleaded guilty and are set to be sentenced on September 21, 2012.