1976 Boca Raton rape case finally set for trial

John MacLean web.JPG
John MacLean{ }

A Boca Raton rape case dating all the way back to 1976 is set to get underway on Tuesday.

The alleged victim -- a 15-year-old babysitter.

Although suspect John MacLean was finally charged with the 1976 case and another rape in 2012, it’s taken another six years to get to trial.

MacLean, now 71, sat in court on Monday as attorneys argued pretrial motions.

MacLean is charged with raping the 15-year old, as well as a housewife the following year, in Boca Raton.

New DNA testing gave police the ability to file charges in these very old cold cases.

“DNA evidence, they look at as almost irrefutable,” said Patrick McKamey, a West Palm Beach-based criminal defense attorney and former homicide prosecutor.

“They used modern science to test the DNA in this case,” he said. “Even though the evidence itself is 40 years old, you’ve got DNA where it doesn’t belong, such as on the pants or a robe of a rape victim.”

But after listening to the pretrial motions in court, it appears exploiting the age of the evidence will be a defense strategy.

“Really the defense’s best option is to argue the evidence is unreliable, has somehow been tampered with, not been handled properly, and has not been sufficiently maintained or kept over the last 30 to 40 years,” McKamey said.

This is by no means MacLean’s first brush with the law.

He referred to himself as “superthief” while in prison for a $1 million jewelry heist at a Fort Lauderdale mansion in the 1970’s.

MacLean is already a sex offender after an Arizona conviction.

Tuesday is expected to be devoted to jury selection.

The trial is expected to go at least through the end of the week.