Friends, neighbors honor St. Petersburg murder victim - CBS46 News

Friends, neighbors honor St. Petersburg murder victim

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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.


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