A Maine man who was captured on video hauling the lifeless body of a former high school classmate into the woods was sentenced to 58 years in prison on Wednesday for raping and killing her.
Jalique Keene was seen on surveillance video carrying the woman over his shoulder as she kicked her legs and then later carrying her limp body into the woods, where she was found last year. The 22-year-old Keene was convicted of murder and gross sexual assault in May.
Keene and 19-year-old Mikaela Conley knew each other from Mount Desert Island High School. Security video captured Keene and Conley on a playground early on June 1, 2018.
Keene testified at his trial that the two fought after having consensual sex but that he didn’t remember killing her. On Wednesday, Keene said he took “full responsibility for the death.”
The victim’s stepfather said Keene started off as Conley’s friend, but turned out to be a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
“I am beyond broken. I am broken beyond repair without my girl. This is my life sentence. Jalique Keene has broken our family,” Conley’s mother, Danielle Timoney, said.
An autopsy showed Conley died from blunt force trauma to her head and strangulation. Keene’s DNA was found under Conley’s fingernails and inside her body, prosecutors said.
“Her heart was enormous, always seeking out new adventures,” Timoney told the court before Keene was sentenced to the half century plus behind bars, the Bangor Daily News reports.
The Bangor Daily News reported that about 50 of Conley’s relatives and friends crowded into the courtroom. On the other side of the courtroom, a smaller group of Keene’s family and friends wore black T-shirts with a photo of Keene and “We all love you” in large letters.
Barbara Keene, Jalique Keene’s adoptive mother, said Conley’s death was a tragedy, “amplified by the fact that it came at the hands of a close friend she had trusted.” But, she added, the crime “is not the sum total of who he (Keene) is.”
Keene addressed the court, claiming he has attempted suicide more than 100 times, according to the Daily News report.
“You’ll never hate me more than I hate myself,” Keene said. “I would never intentionally hurt one of my friends.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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