Defendant in Texas rape case vanishes during trial
This undated booking photo provided by the Liberty County Sheriff's Department in Liberty, Texas, shows Eric McGowen. Opening statements were scheduled to begin Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Liberty in a trial for McGowen, who is charged with aggravated sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl in 2010 in Cleveland, Texas. McGowen is among 14 adults charged in the case. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child. (AP Photo/Courtesy the Liberty County Sheriff's Department)
Twenty-year-old Eric McGowen is among 14 adults accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl during a nearly three-month span in 2010. Six juveniles also were charged.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys huddled briefly Wednesday with Judge Mark Morefield after McGowen failed to return to the courtroom following an afternoon break. The judge then told jurors the trial will go on without him.
Morefield later said a bench warrant had been issued, and McGowen's bail was increased from $35,000 to $250,000. The judge said the trial will resume Thursday morning.
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