A former Chicago man convicted of beating and raping an Elgin woman has lost his appeal that argued his 120-year prison sentence was excessive.
It took a jury just 90 minutes in 2011 to convict Rodney McGowan of breaking into an apartment in April 23, 2009 and assaulting a 75-year-old woman. McGowan's fingerprints were found on the apartment window, security footage showed him leaving the building, and his DNA was found on a used condom in the woman's apartment.
Judge Timothy Sheldon, who has since retired, sentenced the 44-year-old McGowan to two 60-year prison terms.
"It is the court's intention that this defendant never again be a free man. He is a danger to civilized society," Sheldon said at the time.
McGowan's appeal argued Sheldon abused his discretion and essentially issued a "life sentence"; the appellate panel disagreed, pointing to a number of aggravating factors in the case and McGowan's criminal past.
"Although we agree that an opportunity for rehabilitation should be granted in most cases, the trial court concluded that the circumstances here dictated otherwise. We cannot conclude that the trial court's assessment constituted an abuse of discretion," the panel ruled.
Among the aggravating factors cited when McGowan was sentenced: the brutality of the crime; McGowan's lack of remorse and denial of everything; the emotional, physical and financial impact on the victim; McGowan's criminal history, including spending 20 years in an Arkansas prison for robbery and kidnapping; and him harassing, threatening and masturbating in front of a female guard at the Kane County jail.
McGowan did not testify at his trial, but when given a chance to apologize before he was sentenced, he denied his involvement.
This seemed to be the final nail in the coffin for McGowan's appeal.
"And, seemingly oblivious to the victim's welfare or the jury's determination of the defendant's guilt, which was based, at least in part, on forensic evidence recovered at the scene, defendant's concern focused on finding someone to clear him from 'this mess.' Because of the abundance of aggravating factors, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing the defendant," the panel wrote.
The earliest McGowan can be released from prison is 2092.
Profit-sharing helps kids: Three area businesses have agreed to give part of their June profits to help CASA Kane County, which provides specially trained court appointed advocates to abused or neglected children.
Kimmer's worked with Moveable Feast to create four ice cream varieties.
Stacey Dougherty of State Street Jewelers is donating a portion of her commission. The jeweler also donates jewelry every year for CASA's March dinner and fundraiser.