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Guilty pleas

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Man convicted of abduction, rape, attempted murder

By John Barnhart

A Vinton man will be spending the next 25 years behind bars after pleading guilty to multiple violent felony charges in Bedford County Circuit Court, Tuesday. George Leroy Keaton, 31, entered a signed plea agreement to charges of abduction, rape, forcible sodomy, aggravated malicious wounding and attempted capital murder.

    Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Krantz termed Keaton a sexual sadist.

    Krantz told Judge James Updike that Keaton had previously been convicted in the Roanoke area of abducting, beating and raping a woman. The woman escaped when he took her to her work site in an attempt to get her paycheck. Keaton served two years of a three year sentence for that crime.

    He introduced a letter written by an inmate who knew Keaton in prison. The letter stated that Keaton, as his release date approached, told him that he planned to find his former girlfriend, beat her, rape her, cut up her face and kill her. Then, he was going to commit suicide.

    After being released, he came in contact with a woman who was an acquaintance of his sister. In late December, 2006 Keaton abducted this woman and held her overnight in his house, repeatedly sexually assaulting her.

    “He told her he was going to kill her,” Krantz said.

    In the morning, he let her go to her car and she attempted to escape, but Keaton stopped her, the car wrecking in the process. Keaton ultimately stabbed her.

    A plea agreement was reached with Keaton, through his defense attorney because he was concerned about defense challenges to some of his evidence.

    “Our victim has already suffered enough trauma,” he added.

    The defense attorney, in turn stated that he planned to challenge the testimony from a prison inmate and the Commonwealth’s allegation of intent. However, he was concerned about exposing his client to a jury trial on nine charges, each of which carried a potential life sentence.

    Judge Updike sentenced Keaton in accordance with the plea agreement. Updike sentenced him to life in prison on each of the five charges to which Keaton pleaded guilty. The sentences will be served concurrently and suspended after Keaton has served 25 years. He will then have to register as a violent sex offender and be placed on 25 years of intensive supervised probation. He is also barred from contact with the victim or any prosecution witnesses.