Security will be increased at convicted rapist sentencing

Eric McGowen skipped town during trial

LIBERTY, Texas - Courthouse security will be a concern Thursday as a convicted rapist will be formally sentenced.

That convicted rapist, Eric McGowen, skipped town during the first day of his trial.

A jury sentenced the 20-year-old to 99 years in prison last month for sexually abusing a girl, who was 11 years old the time. Officials said it happened during a three-month span in 2010.

McGowen was one of 20 men and boys who had sex with the girl in abandoned homes throughout Cleveland, according to officials.

Jurors handed down their conviction and sentence with McGowen missing most of the trial. He disappeared from the courthouse during a break during testimony. Law enforcement tracked him down at a Greenspoint apartment complex on Tuesday.

Avoiding trial are four others who decided to plea bargain. Jared McPherson, Kelvin King and Timothy Ellis pleaded guilty Tuesday. Rayford Ellis pleaded guilty Wednesday. All are scheduled to be sentenced later this month.

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