Gang-Rape Defendant Disappears During Trial

Eric McGowen disappeared during a 10-minute recess

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 30, 2012 11:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – Eric McGowen, one of the men accused of gang-raping an 11-year-old girl, is on the lam, after disappearing during a recess in his trial yesterday. The victim, who is going by the pseudonym "Regina," had just taken the stand, crying as prosecutors showed a graphic cellphone video in which a young man appears to have anal sex with her, the Houston Chronicle reports. In the background, a man is heard shouting, "Beat that ho!" She identified McGowen as that man.

She also recalled having oral sex with McGowen, and said he had sexually assaulted her with a beer bottle—as seen in another video. After the testimony the judge called a 10-minute recess, from which McGowen never returned. His lawyer initially assumed he was in the bathroom, but a search of the courthouse and surrounding grounds turned up nothing. The judge issued a warrant for his arrest, and bumped his bail up by $250,000.

This undated booking photo provided by the Liberty County Sheriff's Department in Liberty, Texas, shows Eric McGowen.
This undated booking photo provided by the Liberty County Sheriff's Department in Liberty, Texas, shows Eric McGowen.   (AP Photo/Courtesy the Liberty County Sheriff's Department)
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