CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Gabe McKeel Jr. will spend the rest of his life in prison for breaking into a home in DeQuincy where he brutally attacked a 94-year-old woman who authorities say was raped and beaten to the point of unconsciousness.
"Nobody knows why somebody does things like this. But we do know one thing, that with the law enforcement people we have with us today that investigated this case and the court system that helped us prosecute this case, we're not going to let people do things like this and get away with it in Calcasieu Parish," said Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier.
The crime horrified and outraged people throughout the community so much so that DeQuincy Police and the mayor came to the sentencing to show support for the victim and those who saw to it that justice was done.
Lead investigator Tom Threatt said the night of the crime, a dance in DeQuincy was cut short so participants could help find McKeel.
"Without the community, the police department wouldn't have been able to apprehend Mr. McKeel as quickly as they did. Many, many people came forward to help with the investigation," he said.
DeQuincy Mayor Lawrence Henagan said they will not tolerate such crimes in their community.
"Justice was served. I thank Judge Ware. I think he did an outstanding job. It's a shame I guess life is about the best you can give somebody. It's a shame you can't give him more," Henagan said.
Despite all the horrible things that happened to her, those who know the victim said she is up and out, doing things in the community.
First Assistant District Attorney Cynthia Killingsworth said the woman has a very strong character.
"She has a great faith in God and it has carried her through. She is unbelievable. I hope I can be like her. I look to her and see, wow, she's doing wonderfully," Killingsworth said.
Judge Ron Ware sentenced McKeel, 50, to life in prison on Friday for aggravated rape plus 30 years for aggravated burglary and five years for second-degree battery.
This is not McKeel's first time in trouble with the law.
He has a number of previous convictions and has been prosecuted as a habitual offender.