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Man convicted in 2010 sex assault case

LIBERTY — A jury has convicted the first of 20 defendants to go to trial in the sexual assault of a Texas middle school student over a nearly three-month stretch in late 2010.

Eric McGowen wasn’t in court Thursday when he was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child. The 20-year-old was free on bail and skipped out during a break in proceedings Wednesday, the first day of testimony.

The jury deliberated for about 20 minutes before returning its verdict. McGowen faces from 25 years to life in prison. The judge issued an arrest warrant for McGowen.

Prosecutors said McGowen or the other defendants sexually assaulted the girl, then 11, on at least five occasions in late 2010. All six juveniles and two adults have pleaded guilty.


Spacewalking astronauts stymied by sticky bolts

CAPE CANAVERAL — Sticky bolts proved too much for a pair of spacewalking astronauts.

The astronauts tried for hours Thursday to install a power-switching box outside the International Space Station, but they had to call it quits because of stubborn bolts.

NASA’s Sunita Williams and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide used all sorts of tools and tactics as they tried to bolt down the new unit, but nothing worked. With time running out, Mission Control told the astronauts to tie down the box and go back inside. The work will be left for a future spacewalk.

The power-switching unit is one of four. The other three are working fine. Nonetheless, the power system will need to be reconfigured at the space station given Thursday’s failed effort.


Man is killed by hit-and run driver after saving his son

PHILADELPHIA — A father pushed his 5-year-old son out of harm’s way just before he was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver on a heavily traveled thoroughfare that has become notorious for deadly pedestrian accidents.

Michael Romano, 43, who died at the scene of the crash shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday, managed to push his son to safety before impact.

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