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
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)

(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.

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