Texas gang rape defendant Eric McGowen disappears from trial


A gavel rests on top of a desk in the courtroom of the Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum in Miami. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Joe Raedle

Eric McGowen, one of the men accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a young Texas girl, disappeared from his trial Wednesday.

The defendant went missing following a day of emotional testimony from the now 13-year-old girl who cried when video of one of the attacks that occurred when she was 11 was played for jurors, reported the Associated Press. Testimony continued without 20-year-old McGowen, who is one of 14 adults accused of assaulting the unnamed girl during a three-month period two years ago. Six boys have also been charged in the case.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the girl identified McGowen as the man laughing in the background of the video shown, as he said, "beat that ho." The paper also said she had difficulty remembering names and the details of the assaults, but acknowledged having oral sex with McGowen and identified him in another video as the man sexually assaulting her with a beer bottle.

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Prosecutors and defense attorneys huddled briefly with District Judge Mark Morefield when McGowen, who is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and faces up to life in prison, failed to return to the courtroom after a break, reported the AP. Morefield later said a bench warrant had been issued for the defendant, whose bond increased from $35,000 to $250,000.