Chase, shooting suspect had past legal troubles, rocky relationship with victim’s mom

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LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- We expect a news conference Wednesday morning about a car chase that ended with the death of a five-year-old Cady Harris. Police suspect Marcus McGowan of killing Cady, a case that could end up eligible for the death penalty. Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson is expected to reveal more about the case at the news conference.

FOX 4's Shannon O’Brien spent Tuesday looking at McGowan's criminal history, and his rocky relationship with the little girl's mom, Christina Harris.

McGowan and Harris were together since before Cady was born, but McGowan is not the child's father. Harris describes the on-again-off-again relationship as hell, and so the question is why would she stay and have her daughter around someone so dangerous?

"I had feared for my own life, but never my daughter's," Harris said.

"For whatever reason, we do see a lot of repeat battery situations," said Atchison County attorney Gerald Kuckelman.

Kuckelman has been involved with the aftermath of much of the violence between McGowan and Harris.

"In 2009 we had an aggravated assault case,” he explained.

Court records show, during an argument, McGowan threatened to put Harris in a body bag, choked her, and shot at her while she was in a truck, trying to get away. Cady was just an infant when that happened.

"He ultimately pled to a criminal threat,” Kuckelman said.

For which McGowan received probation, later going to jail for violating probation in 2011 for another domestic assault on Harris.

"Ms. Harris indicated he struck her numerous times in the head and face and pulled a knife on her,” Kuckelman said.

Debbie Duncan is a domestic violence counselor who has never worked with Harris, but says there are many reasons people stay in violent relationships, such as financial dependency, children.

"’Cause they want to control everything that you do, everything that you say and they don't want you around anyone else,” Duncan explained.

While Harris said she never thought McGowan would hurt her daughter...

"She loved him and he claimed he loved her," Harris said.

Duncan says the child can be a target for a desperate man.

"That's the way they get to the mother,” Duncan said.

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4 comments

    • Inlife

      She will be pregnant by the end of the year. Her poor decisions in life led to the deaths of 2 of her children possibly the 3rd. She should be in jail with him for endangering the safety and welfare of her now deceased children. She is probably online right now shopping for a new boyfriend at inmate.com. She is a POS!

      • Nick

        There is never a valid reason to stay with an abuser. She more than likely has many men lined up waiting to be a daddy but never a father. She belongs in jail!