Man faces 120 years after Elgin rape conviction

Updated 6/3/2011 5:06 PM
  • Rodney McGowan

    Rodney McGowan

A Chicago man faces up to 120 years in prison after being convicted of breaking into the apartment of an elderly Elgin woman in spring 2010 and raping and beating her.

A Kane County jury took about 90 minutes to find Rodney McGowan, 42, guilty of home invasion, two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated battery to a senior citizen.

During the four-day trial, prosecutors argued that McGowan broke into the woman's apartment while she was sleeping on her couch, punched her in the face several times and raped her before running off.

"It was a horrible violation that (McGowan) committed," Assistant State's Attorney Joe Cullen said in his closing argument. "(The victim) had a right to feel safe in her own home."

The victim, a 75-year-old widower and mother of six, could not identify her attacker who broke into her first-floor apartment shortly after midnight on April 23, but she didn't have to.

Elgin police were clued in on McGowan because they saw him on a security tape leaving the victim's apartment.

Police also found McGowan's fingerprints on the woman's bedroom window and on a condom wrapper on the apartment floor. Police also found a used condom tucked in the couch with McGowan's semen on the inside and the victim's DNA on the outside.

When police arrived, the victim's eye had already swollen shut.

"Because of the damage the defendant did to her face, she can no longer wear her dentures," Assistant State's Attorney Reagan McGuire told jurors.

Assistant Public Defender Brenda Willett argued that the DNA evidence was not absolute and the victim didn't know who attacked her.

McGowan is due for sentencing Aug. 25 and Judge Timothy Sheldon has the option of doling out two consecutive, maximum sentences of 60 years each.

McGowan was released from an Arkansas prison in 2006 after serving 20 years for robbery and kidnapping.

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