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Man who raped school girl pleads guilty

Matthew Watson enters a courtroom in February 2010 to hear the charges against him.
Matthew Watson enters a courtroom in February 2010 to hear the charges against him.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 26-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday in a crime that shocked a Westside neighborhood more than five years ago.

Police said Matthew Watson pulled a gun on a 16-year-old girl waiting for a school bus on 103rd Street in February 2010. The victim was dragged into the woods and raped.

Watson was arrested several days later based on a DNA match of convicted felons in Florida. He was convicted of was a burglary in 2008.

The case dragged on in the courts, due largely to several changes in defense lawyers. Watson was scheduled to go on trial Monday, but appeared in court Thursday to plead guilty to unarmed sexual battery and kidnapping.

Watson was sentenced to 15 years in prison, followed by 10 years probation as a sexual offender.

The victim was not in court. She moved out of town after the crime.