DA: Parish man, 63, pleads guilty to rape of mentally handicapped man

Published 1:29 pm Thursday, September 27, 2018

District Attorney Warren Montgomery reported that Eddie McBeth, 63, of Franklinton, abruptly ended his trial Wednesday with a guilty plea to second-degree rape for raping a mentally handicapped man nearly three years ago.

District Judge Alan Zaunbrecher sentenced McBeth to 25 years in prison without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.

The victim, 21 at the time of the crime, suffers from mild mental retardation, Montgomery said. He was attending a Halloween party on Oct. 31, 2015, when McBeth provided the victim alcohol and lured him away from the party while other guests were distracted by the serving of food.

Montgomery said that McBeth hid behind a bale of hay in a field and raped the young man. Afterwards, McBeth told the victim not to tell his parents. But early the next morning, the victim told his parents what happened, and his mother called the rape crisis line, operated by ADAPT.

ADAPT Executive Director Charlotte Fornea assisted the family in reporting the incident to the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Detective Demi Rice conducted the investigation. JoBeth Rickles conducted a videotaped forensic interview of the victim at the Bogalusa Hope House. DNA from McBeth was found on the victim’s body, Montgomery said.

McBeth pleaded guilty on the third day of his trial, before the victim testified. Prior to McBeth’s sentencing, the victim’s mother read a statement about the impact of the crime on her special-needs son and their family.

Assistant District Attorneys David Weilbaecher Jr. and Roy Burns III prosecuted the case.