After three days of deliberation, a jury finds homeless man Merle Eaton guilty of raping a hitch–hiker last July, who will most likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Eaton was charged with three counts of sexual assault, second-degree kidnapping and third-degree assault.
The alleged victim says she was hitch-hiking home to Illinois when Eaton attacked her. Trained investigators were unable to find and subpoena her to court, but that didn't stop the district attorney's office from perusing its case against Eaton, District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said the case was almost as challenging as any murder case.
Eaton will be back in court in early July for a habitual offender hearing and if found a habitual offender, he faces a mandatory 96 years in prison.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.