Granite City, IL (KSDK) - A 34-year-old Granite City man convicted of sexually assaulting an O'Fallon woman in a violent attack at Horseshoe Lake in May 2008 had his sentenced reduced Tuesday.
Keith Recklein was convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual assault one count of aggravated battery and sentenced to 50 years in prison in April 2010.
According to Stephanee Smith, a spokeswoman for the Madison County State's Attorney's Office, a judge reduced that sentence to 15 years, saying prosecutors failed to prove that a sexual assault occurred. The aggravated sexual assault charge was reduced to attempted aggravated sexual assault, leading to the reduction in sentence.
During the trial, prosecutors said Keith Recklein lured his victim to Horseshoe Lake State Park in May 2008 to sexually assault her.
Recklein was convicted in October 2009 and received 25 years for each count of sexual assault and five years for the battery charge. However, the judge sentenced Recklein to serve that third charge concurrently with the others, meaning he would be in prison for 50 years instead of 55.
During the trial, prosecutors said Recklein stole a phone from a man he was drinking with that night. The man was a friend of the victim. Recklein then called the victim and told her that her friend was drunk and she needed to pick him up at the park. The friend was not at the park.
Investigators said Recklein's DNA was found in the victim's underwear.
Recklein's attorney had argued that the evidence presented did not prove his client raped the victim and that it was all circumstantial.
The victim was discovered on the morning on May 1, 2008 by an employee of Horseshoe Lake State Park. The employee saw an unoccupied vehicle parked near the main entrance gate when he arrived for work. When that man pulled into the park driveway, he spotted a person laying on the ground curled up in the fetal position.
The park employee said the victim's eyes and mouth were swollen and she could not speak. The victim's purse, containining $140, was nearby, as well as a tampon that had been used by the victim. The park employee called 911, got a sheet to cover the victim, and stayed with her until police arrived.
The victim was airlifted to St. Louis University Hospital and doctors reported she suffered a cerebral contusion (bleeding in the brain), facial fractures and rib fractures. Doctors administered a rape kit to the victim.
When the victim had recovered enough to talk 11 days later, she told authorities the last thing she remembered was being put in a headlock by her attacker and being lowered to the ground. She had attempted to use self-defense moves to loose her attacker's grip around her neck and asked him why he was doing this to her.
Keith Recklein was questioned on more than one occasion over the course of the months-long investigation. Recklein initially denied ever meeting or knowing the victim, but after being confronted in October 2008 that his DNA was found on the victim's underwear, told police his version of events.
Recklein said the man whose cell phone he took was a friend of his. That man had been with Recklein at the bar earlier in the evening and had talked on the phone with the victim about meeting up at Horseshoe Lake State Park. But because the man had gotten drunk and was being driven home by a bar employee, Recklein said he went to the park to tell the victim her friend was not coming out to meet her.
Recklein claimed after meeting the victim and telling her that her friend would not be coming out that he "blacked out." He told police that he woke up later moring sometime around 2 a.m. and could not remember what had happened. Recklein admitted to meeting the victim several weeks later, recognizing her, and realized what he'd done.
Investigators said when they suggested Recklein raped the victim, he denied doing so, but said if authorities had his DNA then he must have done something, but did not remember it.