CROWN POINT — An East Chicago man previously convicted of sexually assaulting his neighbor in 2014 and sentenced to 100 years in prison is likely to face a shorter sentence following his new trial and conviction last week.

A Lake County jury on Friday returned a mixed verdict for Major Wilson, 67, on 10 counts related to the sexual assault.

Jurors found Wilson guilty of two counts of criminal deviate conduct and one count each of sexual battery, burglary and criminal confinement. Wilson was acquitted of five additional counts — including some that carried the longest possible sentences — related to his alleged use of a knife during the attack.

The woman gave investigators a different description of the knife Wilson was accused of using, and testimony during trial showed East Chicago police photographed knives in Wilson's apartment, but never collected them as evidence.

Wilson initially was convicted on all counts during a trial in 2014 and sentenced to 50 years for criminal deviate conduct, 20 years for burglary and 30 years for being a habitual offender. The sentences were to be served consecutively, for a total of 100 years.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in January 2018 that Lake Criminal Court Judge Diane Boswell failed to advise Wilson before his 2014 trial of the risks of self-representation or ask questions to ascertain whether his waiver of his right to counsel was knowing, voluntary and intelligent. Wilson told Boswell before the 2014 trial he wanted to fire his public defender.

The appeals court remanded Wilson's petition for post-conviction relief back to Boswell, who granted Wilson's request for a new trial in May 2018.

The jury deliberated for several hours Friday before returning a verdict.

Wilson could face 16 to 96 years in prison for the crimes of which he was convicted Friday, defense attorney Matthew Fech said.

"I respect the jury's decision," he said. "It's clear that by the nature of the verdicts that the jurors spent the necessary time reviewing all of the evidence and coming to verdicts they believed were consistent with the evidence presented. The fact that the jury acquitted Mr. Wilson of all of the charges involving the use of a deadly weapon goes to show the detail the jury used in coming to its conclusion."

The Lake County prosecutor's office agreed Wilson could face 16 to 96 years in prison, spokesman Bradley Carter said. Deputy Prosecutors Infinity Baulos and Daniel Burke declined comment, he said.

A sentencing hearing for Wilson has not yet been scheduled, online court records show.


Public Safety Reporter

Sarah covers crime, federal courts and breaking news for The Times. She joined the paper in 2004 after graduating from Purdue University Calumet.