KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A northeast Kansas man faces life in prison after admitting in federal court Thursday that he kidnapped his girlfriend's 5-year-old daughter and shot the child to death during a 2014 police chase.
Marcas McGowan, 32, pleaded guilty to charges of kidnapping resulting in death and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence. He will be sentenced Sept. 6, and prosecutors and his attorneys have agreed to recommend a life prison term for the kidnapping count and a 10-year term for the firearms offense.
Authorities say McGowan abducted Cadence Harris on July 18, 2014, after a domestic dispute in the Atchison, Kansas, home they shared with the girl's mother.
During an ensuing chase, McGowan fired at police and fatally shot the girl. Authorities pursued him into neighboring Missouri before he crashed through a barricade near Leavenworth, Kansas. He stopped driving, and officers shot him after he pointed a gun at them.
McGowan was briefly hospitalized and has been jailed since then.
Cadence's mother, Christina Harris, told reporters after the shooting that she and McGowan were involved in a five-year relationship that was often abusive.
Leavenworth County prosecutors, in ceding to federal prosecution of McGowan, dropped state charges of first-degree murder, aggravated assault on a law enforcer, criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, aggravated child endangerment, and fleeing or attempting to elude police by reckless driving.
While a state felony murder conviction could bring a life sentence with parole eligibility after 25 years, the federal kidnapping conviction could result in a life sentence with no chance of parole.