The man who kidnapped and then raped a woman in the Allegheny National Forest will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Mike Beaulieu, 37, was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison by U.S. District Judge Sean McLaughlin in federal court in Erie.
Because it is a federal sentence, there is no possibility of parole.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marshall Piccinini described the crimes of Aug. 3, 2010, on the Allegheny National Forest for the court.
"This rape case and this kidnapping is really the quintessential nightmare where a crime is committed," Piccinini said. "A man appears out of nowhere, traveling from Maine, seeking out a victim. He, at gunpoint, bound and gagged the young man who just stood up and talked (in court on Wednesday)... and made him watch the woman he loves being taken (away) at gunpoint."
After driving her to a more secluded location, "he didn't just rape her, he raped her at gunpoint in fear for her life," he said.
Piccinini described as incredible the female victim's ability to remain calm and focused during the nightmare.
After the rape, Beaulieu drove away and the female victim walked toward the sound of traffic and waved down a passing state police trooper. She was able to provide a description of Beaulieu's gun and vehicle, the Maine license plate number and a physical description of Beaulieu so accurate that a Maine State Police Trooper immediately recognized him from the composite sketch.
"These are two incredible young people who did not deserve what happened to them that day," Piccinini said. "They've spent the last two years reliving that nightmare on a regular basis."
He cited letters written to the judge by the victims. "She can no longer travel on the road" (where the crimes took place) nor bear even "the thought of going to the (Kinzua) dam," he said. "This young man is going to remember for the rest of his life, the feel of the stones under his body, the texture of the rope that bound him, the smell of the duct tape."
Beaulieu addressed the court and his victims prior to the sentencing. "I wish to apologize to the victims for what I did to them," he said. "I can't imagine for a moment the trauma that I've caused them."
"I don't deserve their forgiveness, I know that," Beaulieu said. "I hope God will forgive me."
The male victim also addressed the court.
"We have to spend the rest of our lives living with this, she more than anyone," the male victim said. "No apology is going to fix it, nor will it be accepted."
"It's something we have to live with for the rest of our lives and I feel that it's something he should have to live with for the rest of his," the male victim said.
Beaulieu's attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Thomas Patton, argued that Beaulieu should see some degree of leniency at sentencing because he accepted responsibility for his crimes and entered a guilty plea.
"He should receive some tangible (reward) for his acceptance of responsibility," Patton said. Sentencing Beaulieu to the maximum sentence would "send a message" to other offenders that "they ought to roll the dice" and face trial "because if they plead guilty, they'll get the same sentence."
He said Beaulieu's life expectancy would be about 40 years and that a sentence at the bottom of the guideline, 37 years, would give him a tangible reward for pleading guilty.
"I'd ask your honor to consider, even if you don't say the word 'life', if you say 40 years or 50 years, it's going to be life," Patton said.
He said the 37-year minimum was very high but "no one is saying it's inappropriate."
Piccinini said he had looked at Beaulieu's criminal history and that it was "unfortunate" that "it was extremely difficult to find one thing that that could be said positively about this man's life from the age of 19."
He described an escalating pattern of criminal behavior.
A total of 13 criminal history points puts an offender in category 6 - the highest category. Beaulieu had 18 criminal history points.
"You have really good predictors that, if released, this man is extraordinarily likely to re-offend," Piccinini said.
McLaughlin detailed Beaulieu's criminal history, starting in 1993: theft, burglary, arson and assault on an officer, burglary and theft, escape, felony weapon and controlled substance possession and resisting arrest, sexual assault, unlawful furnishing of a drug.
Beaulieu was on probation for the sexual assault at the time of the 2010 rape.
"None of the defendant's contacts with the criminal justice system have deterred him," McLaughlin said. "I do not believe I have ever had a case where the sentencing goal of protecting the public was more critical."
"I am absolutely convinced that this violent recidivist will remain a danger to society for the rest of his life," McLaughlin said.
Beaulieu's sentence includes seven years to be served consecutive to the life sentence. Although the life sentence does not carry the possibility of parole, the additional years were mandated because Beaulieu used a firearm during the commission of the crimes.
The one concession McLaughlin allowed the defense was that Beaulieu be incarcerated "as close as possible to Maine" where his mother lives.
The case was originally under joint jurisdiction of Warren County and the U.S. government because the crimes took place within the county, but on national forest land.
Warren County District Attorney Ross McKeirnan waived the county's rights to prosecute, saying that saved "a lot of Warren County tax dollars."
"We had excellent cooperation with federal and Canadian authorities," McKeirnan said Wednesday. Beaulieu fled to Canada and was apprehended in New Brunswick.
"Beaulieu is a twisted 'psycho-brain' who can spend the rest of his miserable life in prison," McKeirnan said. "He is unfit for society."
McKeirnan expressed his appreciation for the efforts of Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Jeff Walters and U.S. Forest Service Special Agent William Mickle in investigating the case from the beginning and contributing to Beaulieu's apprehension. Both were present Wednesday to see Beaulieu's sentence handed down.
After sentencing, Beaulieu was led in handcuffs by U.S. Marshals through a side door in the courtroom and into a stark, white concrete block hallway.