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Hubbard Lawyers Hope to Trim Sentence

August 08, 1992|THOM MROZEK | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The principal players in the case of former San Diego Police Officer Henry Hubbard Jr., the serial rapist who pleaded guilty last month, will ask for strikingly different prison terms during a hearing scheduled for Monday.

Buttressed by psychological evaluations indicating that Hubbard suffers from a personality disorder which drove him to exert control over his victims, defense attorney Kerry Steigerwalt, in papers filed with the court Friday, is asking for the minimum sentence of 53 years in state prison.

But prosecutors and the Probation Department, which evaluates all convicted criminal defendants, are both asking Superior Court Judge Herbert J. Exarhos to hand down a sentence of more than 90 years, according to court documents.

Hubbard, 30, pleaded guilty and no contest on July 2 to committing a series of late-night sexual assaults that terrorized beach-area residents for 11 months. The typical incident in this case involved the attack of a couple, with the male being tied up and forced to watch helplessly as the woman was raped.

The attacks came to an end Aug. 15, 1991, when Hubbard was arrested for attacking two men and a woman companion at Torrey Pines State Beach. This crime went awry when one of the men escaped after being tied up, leading to a struggle that left one victim wounded and Hubbard with a bullet wound in his hand. He was arrested after seeking treatment for the wound and after investigators found Hubbard's flashlight at the scene of the attack.

Hubbard admitted or offered no defense to all 38 counts charged against him. There was no plea bargain made--Hubbard understood that his maximum theoretical sentence was more than 200 years, although sentencing rules would probably limit the prison term to 50 to 70 years in custody.

Steigerwalt said Friday that he will ask for the minimum sentence legally permissible because of several "mitigating factors," a legal term to describe the background of the defendant and circumstances of the crimes that are intended to portray the criminal in a favorable light.

Hubbard has made significant contributions to society and is strongly affected by several psychological defects, the attorney said.

"There are many good aspects of his life," Steigerwalt said, noting that he hopes Hubbard will receive a sentence that will allow him to someday be released on parole and again contribute to society.

In a "sentencing memorandum," Steigerwalt submitted evaluations from two psychiatrists and two psychologists. Additionally, he promises to present testimony from one of the psychologists, Dr. Richard W. Levak, at Monday's sentencing hearing.

While the reports on Hubbard's psychological fitness were not available Friday, the memorandum says Hubbard's childhood was strongly affected by his alcoholic father, who physically and mentally abused his mother in front of the children.

The constant stress of the abusive parent and the desire to cover up the family's dysfunction led Hubbard to become an overachiever, according to Steigerwalt. While attending Lancaster Senior High School in South Carolina, Hubbard was a four-year member of the student council, as well as a participant in the French, Latin and debating clubs.

Additionally, Hubbard was captain of both the school's baseball and basketball teams, and was named an All-American baseball player his senior year. He was also a three-year All-American in college and was drafted by the San Diego Padres.

"As can be seen by his history, Mr. Hubbard is an intelligent man," Steigerwalt writes. "His personal, community-oriented, athletic, educational and professional achievements are numerous and outstanding."

However, the report notes, Hubbard's miserable childhood, a subconscious problem with his being black, and several professional disappointments led to "deep emotional and psychological problems, from which stemmed the commission of these crimes for which he is being sentenced."

Steigerwalt writes that Hubbard is now undergoing therapy for a misogynistic tendency caused by "an all-too-passive mother" and the deterioration of his marriage.

The legal analysis supporting the request for the shorter prison term is based on an appellate court decision that determined that a defendant cannot be sentenced for two different crimes when there is only one criminal objective. In Hubbard's case, Steigerwalt argues for example, he committed a robbery only as "a pretext, a ruse, to facilitate the rape."

Anear was not available for comment Friday afternoon.

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