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Dispute Over Ax Rapist's Parole Site Called 'Circus'

May 03, 1987|From The Associated Press

Paroled rapist Lawrence Singleton remained in seclusion Saturday somewhere in Northern California, starting his second week out of prison while state officials remained stymied by what one described as the circus-like controversy surrounding his release.

The 59-year-old Singleton, described as frightened and cooperative with his armed parole guards, has been shuttled from motel to motel since his April 25 release from the California Men's Colony at San Luis Obispo.

"He's somewhere north of Bakersfield--that's still all we can say," Department of Corrections spokesman Robert Gore said Saturday in Sacramento. He added that officials "expect a very quiet weekend" in the heavily publicized parole furor.

On Friday, attorneys for two more counties launched preparations to try to bar the release of Singleton within their jurisdictions.

Officials of San Diego and Stanislaus counties said they will fight efforts by Contra Costa County, the original choice of corrections officials for Singleton's parole, to get them to take Singleton.

Served With Papers

Contra Costa attorneys, who have sued the state prison system to prevent Singleton's release in Antioch or San Pablo, former home of the ex-merchant marine seaman, served documents on the two counties Thursday night. They require San Diego and Stanislaus representatives to appear in county court in Martinez May 14 to argue why Singleton should not be paroled there.

Singleton was originally arrested and charged in Stanislaus County. He was tried and convicted in San Diego on a change of venue in 1979 for the kidnaping, rape and attempted murder of a 15-year-old girl whose forearms were chopped off with an ax. He served eight years of a 14-year sentence, with time off for good behavior.

City and county officials in San Diego also are vowing to fight any effort to place Singleton in their area.

Mayor Maureen O'Connor and Police Chief William Kolender sent a letter to state corrections officials Friday stating that the city will not permit the action. The letter questions whether someone who committed a crime "too heinous for any rational human being to comprehend" should have been granted a parole in the first place."

Restraining Orders

Last month, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties won restraining orders blocking the release of Singleton in their jurisdictions. The Department of Corrections has appealed the court orders, saying the counties lack the legal authority to interfere with an inmate's parole.

Corrections officials are pressing their efforts to place Singleton in another state, although Florida and Nevada have already turned them down.

"This has all the dimensions of a circus," said Steve White, chief assistant attorney general, of the dispute.

Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp said he has "sympathy" for county officials who want to keep Singleton out, but said, "It's become a kind of spectacle."

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