Friends, neighbors honor St. Petersburg murder victim - WFLA News Channel 8

Friends, neighbors honor St. Petersburg murder victim

Posted: Updated:
Friends of Paula Witthaus gathered Friday to remember her. Friends of Paula Witthaus gathered Friday to remember her.
Friends of Paula Witthaus gathered Friday to remember her. Friends of Paula Witthaus gathered Friday to remember her.
Friends of Paula Witthaus gathered Friday to remember her. Friends of Paula Witthaus gathered Friday to remember her.
Friends of Paula Witthaus gathered Friday to remember her. Friends of Paula Witthaus gathered Friday to remember her.
ST PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

On a damp, dreary Friday night, in front of crime scene tape stretched in front of the home of Paula Witthaus, more than a hundred people stood shoulder to shoulder, with candles to remember a woman who had so little, but cared so much.

"Paula lived her entire life for other people. The most important thing to her was supplying health care for everybody," said Kofi Hunt.

Sometime between late Sunday night and Tuesday afternoon, somebody got into Witthaus' house and killed Paula Witthaus and an older man with health problems who she cared for, Jim Rapp. Police described the murders as "brutal."

The community meant so much to Paula Witthaus. She stood up for various causes like the rights of unwed couples, the poor, and the homeless, which she was very familiar with because she once was homeless.

"When she talked to you, she talked to your heart, You knew she had been through it and that she understood where she was talking from. She probably lived it," said Chuck Terzian.

Witthaus never married, didn't have any children, but loved the community where she lived and fought for people who didn't have a voice.

She didn't mind ruffling a few feathers. "Instead of a moment of silence last night at a party meeting, we had a moment of 'rock-es-ness' in her honor. And she would have loved it," said Beth Fountain.

In a touch of irony, those who knew her say she likely even loved the person who killed her.

"We're all in shock right now. And a lot of us are just trying to go forward and we learn from her example to be better activists in the community,"  said Kofi Hunt.


  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Apple users get strange emails with old dates

    Apple users get strange emails with old dates

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:53 AM EDT2014-07-24 10:53:01 GMT
    If you got an email dated in the 60s, you would probably assume it's a scam.
    If you got an email dated in the 60s, you would probably assume it's a scam.
  • Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Pinellas homeowner ends up the loser after local government mistake on property taxes

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:59 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:59:58 GMT
    This Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in PinellasThis Preservation land is at heart of homeowner tax dispute in Pinellas
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
    Melanie and Jeffrey Cornwell should have been getting a tax break for years on part of the homestead property in Dunedin they call their "little piece of Heaven." But due to a mistake at the Pinellas Property Appraiser's Office, they won't see any rebates for previous taxes, just a break on future tax bills.
  • RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    RECALL: Fruit at Trader Joe's & Costco

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-22 21:45:14 GMT
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
    A Central California company has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots over concerns of possible listeria contamination.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Cell phone app takes selfie of Lakeland woman with stolen phone

    Cell phone app takes selfie of Lakeland woman with stolen phone

    Thursday, July 24 2014 11:01 AM EDT2014-07-24 15:01:51 GMT
    Cell phone app takes selfie of woman who allegedly stole phone.Cell phone app takes selfie of woman who allegedly stole phone.
    A Lakeland woman is trying to find her stolen phone and has a very strong lead, thanks to an app a friend recently downloaded for her.Cathy Carter was in the doctor's office July 17th and went back to her car to find her phone, a Samsung Galaxy Exhibit, missing.
    A Lakeland woman is trying to find her stolen phone and has a very strong lead, thanks to an app a friend recently downloaded for her.Cathy Carter was in the doctor's office July 17th and went back to her car to find her phone, a Samsung Galaxy Exhibit, missing.
  • Prosecutors to lay out timeline at Tampa dead baby trial

    Prosecutors to lay out timeline at Tampa dead baby trial

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:05 AM EDT2014-07-24 11:05:38 GMT
    The boy's mother Jasmine BedwellThe boy's mother Jasmine Bedwell
    Prosecutors will continue laying out a timeline Thursday of the day three-month-old Emmanuel Murray was murdered. The defense will continue to try to discredit it during cross examination. 
    Prosecutors will continue laying out a timeline Thursday of the day three-month-old Emmanuel Murray was murdered. The defense will continue to try to discredit it during cross examination. 
  • Bradenton Police found missing 82-year-old man

    Bradenton Police found missing 82-year-old man

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:24 AM EDT2014-07-24 09:24:11 GMT
    Missing man, 82-year-old Bonner Welch of BradentonMissing man, 82-year-old Bonner Welch of Bradenton
    Bradenton Police officers located an 82-year-old man who went missing on Wednesday night.
    Bradenton Police officers located an 82-year-old man who went missing on Wednesday night.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.