Marcas McGowan, who in 2014 kidnapped 5-year-old Cadence Harris and led police on a chase that ended in her death, pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges that included first-degree murder and aggravated endangerment of a child, according to the Leavenworth Police Department.
"Today, justice was served when Marcas McGowan pled guilty to [Cadence's] kidnapping and murder, and [he] will likely spend the rest of his life in prison," said Leavenworth Chief of Police Patrick Kitchens in a press release.
Cadence Harris, called Cady by friends and family, was the daughter of McGowan's then-girlfriend, Christie Harris.
McGowan allegedly abducted the girl after an argument with her mother July 18, 2014; the subsequent police chase led to a shootout in which Cady, who would have started kindergarten that fall, was shot and killed.
McGowan was subsequently charged with first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated endangerment of a child, felony fleeing and eluding, aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer and criminal possession of a firearm.
"It will be seared into the collective conscience of the officers for the remainder of their career and beyond," said Kitchens. "Our thoughts and prayers are with her family today."
In Kansas, a first-degree murder conviction carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, according to the Kansas State Legislature.