An Independence man pleaded guilty Monday to raping a woman in a Kenner apartment that he confessed to sneaking into via a rear window every day for about a month in 2013.
Brandon S. Watkins pleaded guilty to forcible rape and burglary. He will be sentenced Nov. 3 as a second offender, which could put him away for at least 20 years and as many as 80 on the rape conviction alone.
Watkins, 25, was scheduled to stand trial this week but withdrew his not-guilty plea on Monday.
The victim, 28 at the time of the attack, was sleeping on Dec. 15, 2013, when Watkins came into her bedroom to look for money and raped her, authorities said.
Watkins was on parole for simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling at the time but had disappeared after he was released from custody.
He wasn’t captured until about nine months after the rape, when he was found at a home in Tangipahoa Parish and taken into custody on the parole violation.
A DNA swab matched the results of the rape exam conducted on the Kenner woman, and authorities said Watkins confessed to the crime during an interview with Kenner police. He told detectives that he had been sneaking into the victim’s home through a back window almost every day for a month without her knowledge.
Rape carries a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 40, but the state’s multiple-offender statute would make the minimum sentence 20 years and the maximum 80 years.
The burglary conviction could get Watkins up to 12 years.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.