Twice in 2007, Orange County's Arthur Elmer Whelchel Jr. arrived home intoxicated, raped his 16-year-old daughter and then promised to make amends by being generous.
Once, he bought her new clothes.
And then--following the second rape--he paid for his daughter to take a secret trip to Northern California to see her boyfriend--as long as the girl's mother, Whelchel's ex-wife, wasn't told.
But Whelchel, now 42, hadn't bought permanent silence after all.
Eventually, the girl told her mom, Glenda, about the sex crimes. Those revelations prompted the girl's stepsister to describe how Whelchel had repeatedly molested her too while she was growing up.
An alarmed Glenda went to police who arranged for a recorded pre-text telephone call to Whelchel. During that call, Glenda told him that the girls might think the sex had been their fault and he told her to tell them it was not.
"It still ain't gonna go away," said Whelchel, who was driving a vehicle at the time of the call.
He then said that he'd swallowed 80 Advil PM pills and had nothing to live for.
When one of his daughters got on the phone, he said he was very sorry for what he'd done, according to court records.
Later that night, Whelchel was involved in a head-on collision on Interstate 5. Police arrested him, and OC prosecutors charged him with 16 sex crimes involving incest.
But at trial he claimed that he had no recollection of talking to his ex-wife and a daughter on the phone. The allegations were "bullshit," he said. He'd wanted to kill himself, he now claimed, because he thought the false charges would cost him his job.
He also fumed that a judge had violated his constitutional rights by blocking his defense lawyer from attacking his daughter's alleged sexual relationship with her boyfriend.
A California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana this week rejected Whelchel's complaints as meaningless and approved of his prison sentence: 21 years and four months.
(Periodically at OCWeekly.com, discover the depths of human depravity in Orange County, California.)
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--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly