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MN man faces life in prison for choking, sexually assaulting woman

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A Minneapolis man accused of choking and sexually assaulting a woman is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.

A jury convicted Keith Washington Monday for several crimes linked to the assault from last December, according to a news release from the Hennepin County Attorney.

The jury found he acted with particular cruelty toward the victim, the release says.

“We believe Mr. Washington is a very dangerous man,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. “He has a history of choking women until they are unconscious and it is just good fortune that he hasn’t killed one of them."

Washington was initially accused of choking two women until they were unconscious, then sexually assaulting them, on Dec. 6, 2015 in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood. The incidents are believed to have happened within a few blocks of each other, and a few hours apart. He was charged days later.

A grand jury indicted Washington on 13 counts in February in connection with the December incidents.

However, the second case was dropped at the beginning of the trial because the victim was not available to testify, the attorney's office said.

Washington represented himself at the trial, and argued to the jury that the prosecutor had not proven it was him, according to the news release.

He was found guilty of two counts of attempted first-degree sexual conduct, two counts of attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of first-degree robbery and one count of first-degree assault.

He will be sentenced on May 12.

History of assaulting women

Also in February, Washington was charged in a third case after prosecutors say he beat and raped his girlfriend last July – two months after being released from prison.

In 2000, he was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for choking and raping a woman, the attorney's office news release says.

According to a Minnesota statute, a repeat offender – convicted of first- or second- degree criminal sexual conduct involving force or violence if a "heinous" element exists – must receive a life sentence with the possibility of parole.

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