On Thursday, in Liberty, Texas, a man who had been on the run for two weeks because he fled his trial before conviction was told his fate for his part in a group rape on an 11 year old Texas girl.
The judge formally sentenced Eric McGowen to 99 years in prison without parole. The sentencing hearing took place in the very same courtroom McGowen had fled from and remained a fugitive for two weeks.
During his hearing, 20 year old McGowen remained silent and consistently looked down at the floor.
When state District Judge Mark Morefield asked if McGowen had any legal grounds to object to his sentence, the 20 year old spoke through his attorney, saying that he objected to the sentence because it was “cruel and unusual.”
McGowen was the first of 20 men to stand trial for brutally attacking an 11 year old girl on five different occasions and raping her. The series of sexual assaults happened between September and December 2010. McGowen is the first to stand trial as well as the first to be convicted and sentenced.
Back in August, during his trial, on a break, McGowen fled from the court but the trial continued in his absence and he was convicted in absentia.
On Tuesday, law officials finally caught McGowen and now an investigation has been launched to find out who helped him escape.