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DANVILLE — A Danville man convicted of the murder and dismemberment of a woman that happened in 2017 faces decades behind bars.

On Monday, a Vermilion County jury convicted Ocheil Keys, 30, in connection with the death of Barbara Rose, 50, of Danville.

Judge Nancy Fahey set sentencing for Sept. 2.

After hearing evidence over several days, the jury deliberated just over three hours before finding Keys guilty of first-degree murder, dismembering a human body and concealment of a homicidal death.

The Illinois Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case, which was investigated by Danville police.

A release from Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office said on Oct. 22, 2017, Keys shot and killed Ms. Rose, his longtime girlfriend. He then took steps to hide her body and told her family and friends that she had left the state to buy a car.

Evidence showed that Keys took Ms. Rose’s body to an abandoned house and set fire to her corpse. When that attempt failed, he dismembered her body.

After an intensive weeklong search, Danville police investigators found her body in a car owned by Keys’ mother.

“This case was very horrific in nature, and what happened to Barb was unthinkable,” police Cmdr. Joshua Webb said. “This guilty verdict is only a small part of the healing process for the family, but at least they can move forward now knowing that Mr. Keys was brought to justice.”

Vermilion County State’s Attorney Jacqueline Lacy, who often calls on the attorney general’s office for help, thanked the attorneys who assisted her office in prosecuting Keys and the Danville Police Department members who investigated the grisly murder.

“(The) verdict of guilty against Ocheil Keys clearly demonstrates that the good people of our community simply will not stand for violent murderers who dismember their victims,” Lacy said.

Court records show that Keys has at least three previous convictions in Vermilion County for which he has spent time in prison.

Reporter

Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).

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