Singleton’s Parole On San Quentin Grounds To End Soon
SAN QUENTIN, Calif. (AP) _ For 10 months paroled rapist-mutilator Lawrence Singleton has lived a hermitlike existence in a trailer at the state prison, the only place authorities could find for him after he was driven out of town after town.
On April 25, his parole - and his stay at San Quentin - will come to an end. Singleton will be able to walk away a free man, under no obligation to tell officials where he will settle.
The 60-year-old ex-convict bears little resemblance to the burly, hard- drinking ex-sailor convicted of raping and sodomizing 15-year-old hitchhiker Mary Vincent in 1978 and chopping off her forearms with an ax.
Today, he lives on a small Social Security grant and spends his days tending the yard around his trailer in a remote corner of the 1,000-acre prison grounds.
Although not formally under guard, he observes a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew and is watched by at least one parole officer when he leaves the grounds for weekly visits to a psychologist, officials said.
″When he wants to go shopping, he asks us because he has no transportation,′ ′ said Ronald Chun, regional parole administrator for the Department of Corrections. ″Technically, we have him under surveillance. He can walk around on his own, but for all practical purposes we are escorting him.″
″If it weren’t for the press calls, we wouldn’t know he was out there,″ said prison spokesman Dave Langerman. ″Out of sight is out of mind. Anyone out on the streets has more to fear from the unknown - the guy with the tattoo next to them in the supermarket - than from this poor little burned-out guy under escort.″
Singleton does not grant interviews, but has had occasional visitors, including ex-wife Mary Collins, a retired nurse who offered him a home but was refused by parole authorities, said Michael Van Winkle, a Corrections spokesman.
Singleton served nine years, 11 months of a 14-year, four-month sentence in the California Men’s Colony at San Luis Obispo, receiving an early release for good behavior and through a work-credit program, Chun said.
The early release infuriated residents of a half-dozen small communities where authorities tried to place Singleton last spring. In Rodeo, about 25 miles northeast of San Francisco, a mob of 500 people forced officers to move Singleton under armed guard from a hotel room.
Finally, in June, Gov. George Deukmejian ordered Singleton placed at San Quentin for the duration of his one-year parole.
Once his parole ends, Singleton is under no obligation to tell officials whether he will settle in Florida, near relatives, or elsewhere, Chun said.
″I hope he goes to Florida. The victim and her parents will feel much better knowing he is gone,″ said Nancy Fahden, a Contra Costa County supervisor who fought Singleton’s release to her county.
Vincent, who now has a child, declined to be interviewed but said last year, before Singleton was paroled, that she still fears her attacker.
As a condition of his parole, Singleton takes a drug that would make him extremely ill from any amount of alcohol, even if splashed on in an aftershave lotion, Langerman said.
″He is completely, absolutely defused as a threat to society,″ the spokesman said. ″If he takes a drink, he will fall down retching, so you don’t have to worry about him going on a bender and going out looking for a hitchhiker.″
But once Singleton’s parole ends, he is not required to continue the drug, called disulfiram, Chun said.
″Yes, there is a concern. He claims he doesn’t really need it. He doesn’t lose that much control, according to him,″ Chun said. Singleton maintains, as he did at his trial, that he is innocent and was mistaken for another man.
″I think, if anything, he’s worse now,″ said Donald Stahl, the Stanislaus County prosecutor at Singleton’s trial.
″He has not taken responsibility,″ Stahl said. ″He lives in a bizarre fantasy land and acquits himself each day. He doesn’t accept his guilt and resolve never to do it again.″