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Kansas man pleads not guilty in death of girl during police chase; could become federal case

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LEAVENWORTH, Kansas — The case of a northeast Kansas man who faces six felony charges after a 5-year-old girl died during a police chase might move to federal court soon, according to a county prosecutor.

Marcas McGowan, 30, of Atchison pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony murder after waiving his preliminary hearing in Leavenworth County District Court. He's also charged with 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.

Authorities allege McGowan abducted Cadence Harris on July 18 from a home they shared with the girl's mother in Atchison. The police chase crossed into Missouri before it ended near Leavenworth, Kansas, when officers shot McGowan after they say he pointed a gun at them. He was briefly hospitalized before being jailed.

Cadence was found dead from a gunshot in McGowan's car. Authorities have not publicly said who fired the shot that killed the girl.

Cadence's mother, Christina Harris, told reporters after the shooting in July that she and McGowan were involved in five-year relationship that often was abusive. She said McGowan took Cadence, who was not his daughter, after the couple got into an argument.

Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson said during the hearing that the case may be headed to federal court, which would mean the state charges would be dismissed, The Leavenworth Times reported (http://bit.ly/1yxXJeY ). He said the federal indictment could come within a month.

McGowan remains jailed in Leavenworth County on $1 million bond.


Information from: Leavenworth (Kan.) Times, http://www.leavenworthtimes.com

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