Man Convicted Of Rape Receives 29 To 58 Years Paris Witcher's Mother Said He Was A Victim, Too - Of Child Abuse. But The Judge Called Him "Evil."

Posted: November 25, 1993

MEDIA — Paris Witcher had a bad childhood, according to his mother.

Helen McLain told a judge yesterday that from age 2 to 13, her son lived with his father, a disbarred lawyer with a gambling problem who frequently shunted the boy off on girlfriends. Witcher was abused, she said, and forever scarred when he was returned to his mother.

"Your honor, I would like to say that what Paris has done is the symptom of a child who was rejected by both parents," a sobbing McLain said in Delaware County Court as she begged a judge to have mercy on her son, a convicted rapist.

"You can't just throw a person into jail and not do anything to change their behavior and expect the behavior to change," she said.

Judge Joseph P. Cronin wouldn't have any of that.

Before sentencing Witcher to 29 to 58 years in state prison for raping and robbing a Swarthmore woman in her home in August 1992, Cronin, his voice hard, called the 30-year-old Chester man a "predator" from whom "society must be protected."

"I categorically reject the victimization of the defendant," Cronin said. ''There's only one victim in this case."

Reflecting on Witcher's 14 arrests and nine convictions since age 18, on the testimony of Witcher's former parole officer, and on the anguished words of his victim, Cronin noted:

"Paris Witcher is evil."

In September, a jury convicted Witcher of rape, false imprisonment, simple assault, burglary and robbery. Testimony indicated that early on the morning of Aug. 20, 1992, Witcher broke into the woman's home and woke her in her bedroom. He beat and raped her before tying her up and making off with money, jewelry and a camera.

Witcher pleaded guilty in March but then withdrew the plea and demanded a trial. Throughout the proceedings, Witcher admitted that he had broken into the house - but he maintained he had consensual sex with the woman. Yesterday, he stuck to his story.

"I would like to apologize to (the victim) and to her family for the things I've done," Witcher said. "But I have to respectfully contend that I did not commit these crimes that she said I committed."

The victim, reading from a lengthy prepared statement, told Cronin that she was convinced that if Witcher had known she would free herself and call the police, he would have killed her.

"He showed no mercy to me," the woman said, "nor has he shown any respect to you or the criminal justice system."

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