December 20, 2012: The Honorable Barbara McDermott today sentenced 36- year-old Mark Lee-Purvis of South Philadelphia to five to twelve years in prison for Witness Retaliation, Witness Intimidation, and Terroristic Threats charges.
While awaiting trial for a 2004 illegal firearms transaction, Lee-Purvis posted a photograph of a witness who was expected to testify against him on Facebook. The photo had the word “RAT” written on it. He posted additional information about the witness’s location and the location of his girlfriend. The posting urged Lee-Purvis’ friends to “bring the rat outta hiding.”
In addition to the threats against that witness, Lee-Purvis’ Facebook page contained numerous threats against various police officers, judges, Assistant District Attorneys, and defense attorneys that he felt had wronged him at some point or another showing his contempt for the entire justice system. Lee-Purvis also posted videos on YouTube that were shot inside the Criminal Justice Center during a court listing for one of his preliminary hearings.
In arguing for a lengthy sentence today, Assistant District Attorney Andrei Govorov argued that “In one click of a button, the defendant sent his vile and cowardly message to the world to see. Purvis attempted to use fear and intimidation to hide his criminal activities.”
“I applaud ADA Govorov for his successful prosecution of this case,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “This thug will now have plenty of time to think about his cowardice. I also want to commend Judge McDermott. Her lengthy sentence in this case sends a strong message to criminals that we will not tolerate witness intimidation in Philadelphia. This case highlights the need for continued community participation in the criminal justice system; and criminals who threaten or intimidate anyone who participates in our justice system will indeed be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”