BELTON — A 45-year-old man will serve 75 years behind bars for assaulting a disabled woman.

The jury handed down the sentence for Willie Lee Ockletree, of Killeen, after about 30 minutes of deliberation Wednesday morning. On Tuesday, Ockletree was found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Ockletree was arrested in March after he attacked his then-girlfriend, holding a pillow over her face and threatening to kill her with a knife.

With two previous felony convictions for burglary in 1988 and 1991, Ockletree faced a minimum sentence of 25 years.

Ockletree, who took the stand Tuesday, said he did not think he should serve any time in jail.

“I don’t deserve one day locked up,” he said.

Ockletree’s lawyer, Jeffrey Parker, said any sentence over 60 years would mean his 45-year-old client would not be eligible for parole until he served at least 30 years in jail.

“It takes away any hope of having any type future,” Parker said. During closing statements, Bell County prosecutors read off a laundry list of 20 prior convictions against Ockletree, including multiple burglaries, theft and evading arrest.

“He’s a career criminal who preyed on a disabled woman to the point that he threatened to kill her,” said lead prosecutor Shelley Strimple, who urged the jury to consider a punishment of 60 years or more for Ockletree. “He’s earned a punishment at the high end of the range.”

Ockletree indicated in court Wednesday that he planned to file an appeal.

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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