Suspect found sleeping in bed of victim

Karl Shelvin, a 31-year-old Opelousas man with a criminal record, was a face familiar to the elderly woman he is accused of sexually attacking for hours last week before falling asleep in her bed.

Alerted by a neighbor, police found the victim, 83, just before 10 a.m. Friday in the neighbor’s yard where she had wandered dazed, her sleeping gown in “disarray” and bloody, according to a report based on police observations and interviews with the victim.

Asked if she knew her attacker’s name, she said, “Karl.”

Asked how she knew him, she said he was the man who had trespassed in the Cherry Street neighborhood before.

Asked if she knew the whereabouts of her attacker, she said yes: He was still in her bed.

“Mr. Shelvin was found (by officers) lying in the bed of (the victim) completely naked and asleep,” Opelousas Police Sgt. Crystal LeBlanc said in an arrest affidavit.

Shelvin was booked into the St. Landry Parish jail on one count each of aggravated rape and home invasion. On Monday, bail for the rape count was set at $500,000 and $100,000 for home invasion, according to arrest records.

Conviction of aggravated rape carries an automatic sentence of life in prison at hard labor, with no chance of parole or probation. Home invasion of the property of someone 65 or older carries a sentence of 10 to 25 years in prison at hard labor, with at least 10 years of the sentence served without parole or probation.

The victim told LeBlanc about the instant she knew something wasn’t right Friday morning. “She was asleep lying on her stomach in her bed when she felt a pressure on top of her from behind. (The victim) stated that she knew that it wasn’t her cat when she felt the hands around her neck strangling her,” LeBlanc said in the affidavit.

When she asked her attacker if she could have some water, he refused, LeBlanc said.

Though she didn’t know what time the attack started, she told LeBlanc that at one point she gazed at a clock on a bedside night stand. It read 4:45 a.m.

The victim said once her attacker fell asleep she was able to get away, seeking safety from a neighbor who called police at 9:55 a.m.

“She is a very courageous lady,” Opelousas Police Chief Perry Gallow said.

The victim was taken to a local hospital and treated.

According to the St. Landry Parish Clerk of Court’s Office, Shelvin has a lengthy criminal record.

He is scheduled for trial in December on weapons and cocaine possession charges following a January 2009 arrest by Opelousas police. Shelvin also served seven months in the parish jail for unauthorized entry into a building. And he was charged with simple criminal damage to his mother’s property and unauthorized entry into her home. He later pleaded guilty to the damage charge and agreed to stay away from his mother’s home for six months, court records show.

Gallow said Shelvin was in jail as early as two months ago, serving 22 days for “lurking” around and trespassing on the property owned by the woman he is now accused of raping. Gallow said Shelvin was released from jail in April.