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Singleton's Victim Moves to Get Award

April 13, 1988|JESS BRAVIN | Times Staff Writer

One day after Lawrence Singleton reportedly threatened to sue the woman he was convicted of raping and maiming 10 years ago, Mary Vincent took steps Tuesday in Santa Ana to collect a $2.4-million judgment she won against Singleton last May in a Nevada court.

In a statement released through her attorney, Vincent, now 25, said she had been "almost ready to 'live and let live' " without pursuing the judgment against the man convicted in 1979 of raping her and hacking off her forearms with an ax.

But when informed that Singleton, 60, who is scheduled to be released from San Quentin state prison April 25, planned to take legal action against her, Vincent said that attitude "was no longer possible," according to her attorney, Mark E. Edwards of Tustin.

$2.4-Million Judgment

In May, 1987, a Nevada judge awarded Vincent a default judgment of $2.4 million against Singleton for medical expenses and punitive damages. The action was filed in Nevada because that is where Vincent then lived, Edwards said.

On Tuesday, Edwards filed papers in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana to have the Nevada judgment recognized in California. Edwards said he would serve Singleton with legal papers before he is released from San Quentin.

The attorney said he hoped "the judgment can be at least partially satisfied to help compensate (Vincent) for her 10 years of suffering."

He conceded, though, that it was unlikely that Singleton could pay a large part of the judgment.

"We're under the impression that he earned some money while an inmate at San Quentin," Edwards said, and we intend to conduct an inquiry under oath to determine the status of his maritime pension."

Planned to Move

In a story published Monday in the Antioch, Calif., Daily Ledger, Singleton was quoted as saying he planned to move to Oregon upon his release and that he would file civil suits against Vincent in the superior courts of Marin and Placer counties. Singleton has said he is innocent of any crimes against Vincent and reportedly contends that Vincent threatened him with a knife and extorted money from him.

On Tuesday, however, court clerks in those Northern California counties said they had not received any papers from Singleton.

Vincent was hitchhiking in Berkeley when Singleton picked her up on Sept. 29, 1978. Singleton has maintained his innocence throughout, accusing Vincent of attacking him and blaming her injuries on two other hitchhikers he said he had picked up.

Authorities maintain the two other hitchhikers never existed.

Good Prison Behavior

Singleton was sentenced to 14 years and four months in prison. He earned time off for good behavior and was paroled last year.

Singleton's parole sparked outrage in several Northern California communities where state corrections officials considered placing him. Because of threats to his safety, Singleton has spent his year on parole in a trailer on the San Quentin prison grounds.

Edwards said that Vincent, who now lives at an undisclosed address in the Pacific Northwest, did not wish to speak to reporters. The statement he released on her behalf, however, stated that Vincent "is angry at the situation" brought on by Singleton's reported remarks.

"I have been trying to lead a normal life in seclusion with my 2-year-old son, Luke Matthew Vincent, but I am still plagued by nightmares and fear for my life should Mr. Singleton be released. . . .

"Before (Tuesday's) news about (Singleton's proposed) lawsuit, I was almost ready to 'live and let live' and go on with my life. That is no longer possible."

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