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Fugitive Eric McGowen convicted, sentenced to 99 years in prison for sexually assaulting an 11-year-old

This undated booking photo provided by the Liberty County Sheriff's Department in Liberty, Texas, shows Eric McGowen. McGowan, 20, the first defendant to face trial among a group of men and boys accused of repeatedly raping a young Texas girl, vanished Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012 during a break in the proceedings in Liberty, Texas, following emotionally charged testimony from the alleged victim. AP Photo/Courtesy the Liberty County Sheriff's Department

This undated booking photo shows Eric McGowen.
AP Photo/Courtesy the Liberty County Sheriff's Department

(CBS/KENS) LIBERTY, Texas - Eric McGowen, the 20-year-old  Texas man who fled the courtroom during a break in his trial Wednesday, was convicted and sentenced to 99 years in prison on Thursday for sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl in 2010. But he remains on the run, reports CBS affiliate KENS.

The Liberty County Sheriff's Office has declined to release any details about the search for McGowen - who was free on bail and thus not watched a security detail during the trial - other than to say that he is believed to be armed and dangerous.

KENS reports that according to prosecutors, McGowan is just one of 20 men and boys who took part in sexually assaulting the girl on at least five occasions when she was 11-years-old in 2010.

Prosecutors' case against McGowen included a videotaped confession and testimony from nearly a dozen witnesses, including the girl, who is now 13.

The girl, who testified using a pseudonym, briefly broke down in tears as jurors were shown a few minutes of video of the alleged sexual assault in October 2010, reports KENS. She described another attack that November, in a home then an abandoned trailer, during which she said McGowen assaulted her with a beer bottle.

Defense attorneys did not present any witnesses or evidence.

Jurors deliberated for just 20 minutes before finding him guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Then, after brief testimony in the punishment phase, they decided his sentence in less than 30 minutes.

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  • Crimesider Staff

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