CROWN POINT | An East Chicago man was sentenced Wednesday to 100 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of sexually assaulting his neighbor.
A Lake County jury in August found Major L. Wilson, 62, guilty on three counts of criminal deviate conduct, two counts of criminal confinement, two counts of burglary, battery committed by means with a deadly weapon and two counts of sexual battery.
He was sentenced to 50 years in prison on the charge of criminal deviate conduct, 20 years on the burglary charge and 30 additional years because of his habitual offender status. The court vacated the other charges.
According to court records, Wilson was armed with a butcher knife early March 4 when he broke into his neighbor's East Chicago apartment. He was wearing a mask during the incident, but the woman recognized his voice.
Wilson forced the then-25-year-old woman to have oral sex while threatening her with the knife, according to the affidavit. He forced her to undress while he took nude photos of her.
After the assault, he gave the woman a note demanding she not tell anyone about what happened, according to court records.
The petite woman said in Lake County Criminal Court last week that her soul was weakened by the attack.
"I still have flashbacks," she said.
The woman asked Lake County Criminal Judge Diane Boswell to sentence Wilson to life in prison. She said she plans to devote the rest of her life to helping victims of sexual assault.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michael Toth asked Boswell to sentence Wilson to a total of 128 years in prison, citing Wilson's extensive criminal history.
Toth said Wilson had 10 previous felony convictions spanning several states and decades. Some of his past convictions involve sex crimes, Toth said.
"He can't stay out of prison for more than a year without committing a crime," Toth said.
Wilson, who represented himself during the criminal case, said he didn't get a fair trial. He said he wants to get his freedom back through an appeal of the conviction.
Wilson argued one of his past convictions was not really a rape, because he was 19 years old and the girl was 15 years old.
"Yeah, I've been in trouble all my life," Wilson said. "But I am not guilty."
Boswell said in court she was giving Wilson an aggravated sentence of 100 years because of his lengthy criminal history.
According to the Indiana Department of Correction's website, Wilson was previously convicted in Lake County of burglary in 1992 and 2003.
Wilson received 592 credit days and was assigned a public defender to file his appeal.