BREAKING: Man, 71, sentenced to life in prison for two rapes in 1970s

A Palm Beach County judge Monday sentenced a 71-year-old man to life in prison for raping two women more than 40 years ago in Boca Raton. 

John MacLean, who is a registered sex offender, was sentenced by Judge Jeffrey Colbath nearly two months after a jury convicted him of armed sexual battery.

MacLean was found guilty of raping a 26-year-old woman at her home in 1977 as her two sons slept. The woman, who The Palm Beach Post is not identifying due to the nature of the crime, said MacLean broke in and held a gun to her head as he assaulted her. The woman, who is now in her 60s, said she was “scared to death” during the attacks. 

RELATED Two Palm Springs-area women killed in suburban Lantana crash

In June, MacLean asked, and was permitted by the judge, not to have to appear when a verdict was read because he didn’t want to be "part of the party," motioning back at the victims in the courtroom. Similarly on Monday, he also did not appear for sentencing, according to court records. 

In addition to the June conviction, MacLean was also found guilty in April for raping a 15-year-old babysitter in 1976 at a home in Boca Raton. 

DNA was at the center in both of MacLean’s trials. 

At the end of the 1970s, MacLean served time for several burglaries in Florida and wrote a book titled “Secrets of a Superthief.” In the 1990s, MacLean was convicted for attempted sexual exploitation and burglary in Arizona.

Because of those convictions, his DNA was put into a national database. When Boca Raton police later went through cold cases and sent off DNA for testing, they were able to get a match because of the database.

MacLean was arrested at his Pompano Beach home in 2012 and was linked by DNA to at least four women who said they had been raped between February 1976 and Februrary 1977. All of the attacks happened within miles of each other in Boca Raton.

RELATED ‘High-speed wobble’ caused motorcycle crash in Wellington, PBSO says

DNA connected MacLean to the rape of sisters in 1976 who were 14 and 18 years old at the time. Because lawmakers didn’t remove the statute of limitations for armed sexual batteries until late 1976, after the sisters were attacked, police cannot charge MacLean with those crime now.  

The sisters testified during MacLean’s June trial. 

In the case of the babysitter, MacLean’s DNA was found on the teen’s jeans. In the mother’s case, a vaginal swab taken during a medical exam contained his DNA, according to authorities.

During the trial in June, MacLean’s defense team argued that the DNA evidence had been contaminated and that all other evidence in the case, such as fingerprints, had been lost over the decades. 

"It's evidence that is old, dated, crusty," said Assistant Public Defender Stephen Arbuzow during closing arguments in June. "Everything is missing, and where did it go? Nobody knows."

Next Up in Local

UPDATE: Burt Reynolds’ funeral held in West Palm Beach
UPDATE: Burt Reynolds’ funeral held in West Palm Beach

A private funeral service marked by scripture, music and celebrities took place Wednesday for Burt Reynolds, Palm Beach County’s home-grown movie star.  Reynolds, who came to the county as a youth and kept a connection to it throughout his career as an actor and director in Hollywood, died Sept. 6 at age 82.  Wednesday’s service...
Jupiter Police Department names K-9 after Burt Reynolds character
Jupiter Police Department names K-9 after Burt Reynolds character

Jupiter Police Department has named its newest K-9 officer after one of Burt Reynolds’ best-known characters. Bandit, an 11-week-old bloodhound, will join the department once he completes eight to 10 months of training. This Bandit isn’t going to smuggle bootleg beer across state lines or be chased by Sheriff Buford T. Justice — rather...
Lantana family of 9 loses home in fire; youth football team gives $800
Lantana family of 9 loses home in fire; youth football team gives $800

Sept. 1 was a regular Saturday evening for Tara Payton as she heated up oil in a cast-iron pan to cook dinner for six children in her Lantana home. When she stepped away to ask her husband Ryan a quick question at the front door, Tara heard someone scream “fire!” and she immediately ran back inside to see the kitchen in flames. &ldquo...
Alligator eludes authorities in southern New Jersey
Alligator eludes authorities in southern New Jersey

There’s an alligator on the loose in southern New Jersey, and police have come up empty trying to find the elusive reptile, reported.  >> Read more trending news  Police in Mullica Township said the alligator, which measures between 3 and 4 feet in length, was first spotted Tuesday. Officers and members of the ...
More Stories