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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Kansas

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Atchinson Man Pleads Guilty To Kidnapping, Killing 5-Year-Old Girl

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – An Atchison man pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges of kidnapping and killing a 5-year-old girl. The charges carry a penalty of life in prison, Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall and Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson said.

Marcas McGowan, 32, Atchison, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping resulting in death, and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. In his plea, he admitted that on July 18, 2014, he shot and killed the girl after he kidnapped her and exchanged gunfire with police.

The incident began with a domestic dispute between McGowan and his girlfriend, Christina Harris, the mother of the 5-year-old victim. During the argument McGowan threatened Harris with a gun and she called 911. McGowan put Harris’ daughter in his car and drove away as police arrived.

Police pursued McGowan as he drove through downtown Atchison, across the river into Missouri and then back to Leavenworth, Kan., at speeds up to 95 miles an hour. While fleeing from law enforcement, McGowan fired his gun at the officers. On a highway near the northwest corner of Leavenworth he crashed through a barricade and stopped the car. When he got out of the car, he ignored police orders to drop the weapon. The officers returned fire and shot McGowan, who eventually stopped pointing his gun at the officers.

In the car, police found the girl dead from a gunshot wound. Forensic evidence revealed McGowan had shot her at close range with a 9 mm handgun while she was in the car.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 6. Both parties have agreed to recommend a sentence of life on the kidnapping charge, which is the statutory minimum penalty. The firearm count requires a statutory minimum penalty of 10 years consecutive to the other sentence.

Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson was appointed as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the purpose of the federal prosecution. Beall commended Thompson, the Atchison Police Department, the Platte County (Mo.) Sheriff’s Office, the Weston (Mo.) Police Department, the Leavenworth Police Department, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Rask for their work on the case.


Violent Crime
Updated May 26, 2016