McGowen Will Spend Life In Prison For Killing Ocean Springs Child

Jurors in Jackson County sentenced Hugh McGowen to life without parole for the killing a 4-year-old girl.

Just two hours earlier, the jury found McGownen guilty of capital murder for killing Shelby Lynn Tucker in February, 2000.

The jury entered deliberations around 4 p.m. on Friday. The announced their sentence around 6:30 p.m.

In closing arguments Friday morning, prosecutors reinforced what McGowen said in his taped confession to investigators. McGowen said he had "gone too far and couldn't turn back."

District Attorney Keith Miller told jurors McGowen took Shelby Lynn from her bedroom at her grandmothers home, molested her, choked her, and then beat her in the head with a hammer.

"Hugh McGowen only knew the details that the killer would have known," Miller told jurors. "Don't forget that."

McGowen's lawyer repeated what his client said on the stand Thursday, that McGowen confessed only to protect his brother.

"Hugh (McGowen) is guilty of assisting with the murder, lying to police, and loving his brother too much. But he's not guilty of capital murder," defense attorney George Shaddock told the jury.

After the verdict was read, Shelby Lynn Tucker's family cried. One member said, they got what they wanted.

Stay tuned to WLOX-TV and keep checking for the latest on McGowen's sentence.