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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Bond reduction denied in murder case

  • A reduction in bond has been denied in the case of an Atchison man who's been charged with murder following an alleged shootout in Leavenworth.
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  • A reduction in bond has been denied in the case of an Atchison man who's been charged with murder following an alleged shootout in Leavenworth.
    Marcas T. McGowan, 30, appeared Friday in Leavenworth County District Court with his court-appointed attorney, Debra Snider.
    McGowan is charged with first-degree felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, aggravated endangering a child, and fleeing or attempting to elude police by engaging in reckless driving.
    The charges stem from an incident that occurred July 18 in north Leavenworth.
    McGowan allegedly exchanged gunfire with Leavenworth police officers and was wounded during the incident, which resulted in the death of Cadence Harris, 5.
    McGowan remains in custody at Leavenworth County Jail. His bond is set at $1 million. He is next scheduled to appear in court Sept. 10.
    In addition to requesting a reduction in bond Friday, Snider argued a motion for medical intervention.
    Snider requested that surgery be performed on her client to remove bullets that are still in McGowan's body from the July 18 incident.
    District Judge Gunnar Sundby said he does not know that he can order the county to pay for such a procedure.
    Snider asked the judge not to rule on the motion Friday, saying she will further research the matter.
    When McGowan appeared in court last week, he reportedly indicated he wanted to hire an attorney. But, he later submitted an application for a court-appointed attorney.
    Sundby asked Snider on Friday if she was ready to schedule a preliminary hearing in the case.
    Snider said she was not ready to schedule the hearing. She has received some evidence through the discovery process. But, it's her understanding that the investigation is ongoing, and there may be additional reports.
    "I don't think there's enough information," Snider said.
    County Attorney Todd Thompson suggested allowing at least a month before returning to court for a status hearing.
    Snider said the defense was comfortable with waiting for that length of time.
    Sundby scheduled the Sept. 10 court date as a status hearing.
    Snider argued Friday for McGowan's bond to be lowered to $500,000. She said the defense was not opposed to house arrest or electronic monitoring of the defendant.
    Snider said McGowan has a significant extended family in Atchison, and family members were in the courtroom in support of the defendant.
    Thompson said he objected to the defense motion for bond reduction. The prosecutor noted that McGowan is alleged to have been involved in the death of a child.
    Thompson said the defendant also is alleged to have disobeyed law enforcement requests and assaulted officers.
    Page 2 of 2 - Sundby denied the motion.
    The judge said he takes such requests seriously but noted the case involves significant allegations.
    "Those types of cases generate a lot of interest and pressure," he said.
    He said a lot of things can happen that can increase the risk of flight.
    Sundby also noted there is allegation that McGowan was in possession of a firearm after a prior felony conviction. The judge said this concerns him.
    When arguing for medical intervention, Snider said the bullets that remain in McGowan's body may pose a detrimental health risk, and they could be of value as evidence.
    "The potential evidence needs to be removed from my client's body," she said.
    Also Friday, Thompson announced prosecutors have determined the two Leavenworth police officers involved in the July 18 shooting did not violate the law. No charges will be filed against the officers, Sgt. Steven Brandau and Officer Ruth Hensleigh.
    The findings were based on an investigation by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

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