Man sentenced to life in prison for 'wrong neighborhood' beating

Man sentenced to life in prison for 'wrong neighborhood' beating

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The man convicted of a brutal beating at a Baton Rouge gas station in 2013 was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday afternoon.

In June 2015, an East Baton Rouge Parish jury made up of six people found 42-year-old Donald Dickerson guilty in the so called "wrong neighborhood" trial that resulted in a family getting beaten.

Dickerson was convicted of beating David Ray at a Chevron gas station near Plank and Scenic Highway on May 12, 2013. Ray's wife and daughter were also attacked. Dickerson has been held in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison since his arrest in 2013.

With the second-degree battery convicted, Dickerson will spending the rest of his life in prison after East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore used Louisiana's habitual offender law against him. The law takes into account Dickerson's past violent history.

Dickerson has previously been convicted of armed robbery, purse snatching and a sex crime involving a juvenile.

District Judge Lou Daniel ultimately decided that Dickerson is a habitual offender under the law and sentenced him to life behind bars.

"You are the reason we have a habitual offender statue," said Judge Daniel while sentencing Dickerson.

"Well, to the family I'm very sorry this happened. I am truly sorry," said Dickerson's mother after the sentencing.

Some believed the attack to be racially motivated as Dickerson reportedly told the Ray he was in the wrong neighborhood before attacking him. Judge Daniel said he was proud of the fact that people, who were black, came to the aid of the family.

"This put a lot of fear into Baton Rouge and that's unfortunate, and then judge mentioned that we want to remember all of the good people who came to the victim's aid in this case, and we hope that this sentence can finally provide some closure to the victims in this and closure to the community," said Chris Hester, Assistant District Attorney at East Baton Rouge District Attorney's Office.

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