Paul McKenzie
Paul McKenzie

A York man who beat, raped and repeatedly choked his ex-girlfriend in her York City home more than two years ago is a danger to society with little hope of rehabilitation, according to the York County judge who sentenced the man to a lengthy prison term.

On Monday, 35-year-old Paul McKenzie was ordered to spend a total of 26-1/2 to 53 years in state prison, but given credit for the 736 days he has already served, according to court records.

A jury on Sept. 5 found McKenzie guilty of rape, aggravated assault, aggravated indecent assault and unlawful restraint for the Nov. 5, 2011, attack.

Aggravated range: Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder opted not to sentence McKenzie within the standard sentencing range outlined by the state's sentencing guidelines.

Imposing an aggravated-range sentence instead, Snyder said McKenzie showed extreme mental and physical cruelty toward his victim, despite the fact he held a position of trust in her life.

The judge also said he believes McKenzie is a danger to society and a poor candidate for rehabilitation, according to Kyle King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office. Snyder ordered McKenzie to have no contact with his victim or her family.

Based on an evaluation by the state's sexual-offender board, Snyder ruled McKenzie is not a sexually violent predator, King confirmed.

McKenzie to appeal: Defense attorney Heather Reiner said McKenzie will appeal his conviction.

"He maintains his innocence," she said. "He believes he wasn't given a fair trial."

First assistant district attorney Jennifer Russell, who prosecuted the case, was not immediately available for comment.

At trial, the victim told jurors she and McKenzie had been broken up for about a week when they met to discuss their relationship and ended up at her home.

He demanded to know if she'd been sleeping with anyone and she repeatedly told him she wasn't, but he began punching her, she testified.

"The whole time he was just yelling at me, telling me I was going to die," she said.

Punched, strangled: She said he punched her more than 20 times in the head and choked her with his hands. He then took off his T-shirt and started strangling her with that, she said.

Eventually, he removed a lace from his shoe and strangled her with that as well, the victim testified. She said she still bears a scar on her neck.

"It hurt so bad. It cut off my breathing so quickly," she said. "I felt like my whole head was going to come off. ... I felt like I wasn't going to make it."

Passed out: The victim estimated that, in total, she lost consciousness six times while being strangled.

At that point she began telling her attacker what he wanted to hear, she said -- making up stories about having sex with a former partner and a co-worker.

McKenzie became sexually aroused by the stories and raped her twice, according to testimony.

Afterward, he allowed her to get a glass of water, but she instead ran across the street to a family member's home.

-- Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.