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Get Involved in Singleton Case, Governor Told

May 29, 1987|DAN MORAIN | Times Staff Writer

CONCORD, Calif. — A Contra Costa County supervisor called on Gov. George Deukmejian on Thursday to get directly involved in placing paroled rapist Lawrence Singleton, charging that the governor had done nothing to help place the parolee.

But the call by Supervisor Sunne McPeak prompted a sharp response Thursday from the governor's office that he already is working on the vexing problem.

As patience was wearing thin over the question of where to place the rapist, Singleton was secreted from Concord before dawn Thursday to yet another undisclosed locale as parole authorities continued searching for a Contra Costa County home for him.

Chairwoman of Board

McPeak, chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors, maintained that the "governor has done nothing, has not stepped in. This is his Department of Corrections, and I think there needs to be some resolution from the governor."

McPeak led a drive to send a telegram to the governor again urging that he step in--a move that brought the wrath of the governor's office.

Kevin Brett, Deukmejian's press secretary, said McPeak was "seriously misinformed."

"The fact that she is using the media as the Post Office is unfortunate," he said, noting that the telegram was released to the press before it was received by the governor.

"She is the first and only official that has used this unfortunate incident to make headline-grabbing political charges, and that is unseemly."

While not detailing the governor's exact involvement, Brett echoed statements made Wednesday by Deukmejian during a talk show interview, saying that he expects Singleton's odyssey to end "in the coming days."

Meanwhile, in the Contra Costa County city of Concord, Singleton's last known stop, Police Chief George Straka said Singleton was moved by state agents out of town before daybreak.

The situation turned tense when as many as 175 people demonstrated outside a motel after a few young boys heard a false rumor that Singleton was there and painted signs proclaiming "Singleton is here." By nightfall, others had signs reading "Get the Hacker Out" and "Kill Him." Demonstrators lingered until midnight even though police said he was not there, and the apartment owner invited one of their ranks in to inspect the premises.

Heavy Police Guard

Two days earlier, protesters in nearby Rodeo grew so heated that sheriff's deputies were forced to move Singleton under heavy guard.

Singleton was convicted in 1979 of raping a teen-ager and chopping off her forearms with an ax in rural Stanislaus County. He was freed on April 25 after serving eight years of a 14-year sentence. Since then, parole agents have taken him from town to town in Northern California in a futile search for a permanent home.

McPeak and a contingent of county officials were to meet with Department of Corrections officials in Sacramento today, although a spokesman for the department said he was uncertain what would come of the meeting.

Department spokesman Robert Gore said that despite the unprecedented difficulty that parole authorities have had in placing Singleton, officials cannot walk away from the case. He would not discuss the direction in which Singleton was headed Thursday except to say, "We will continue to do our best to try to place him."

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