February 20, 1997 in Nation/World

Notorious Rapist Arrested In Murder Of Woman

Knight-Ridder
 

Covered in blood, his notoriety known to all, a man once imprisoned for raping a teenage hitchhiker and chopping off her forearms was arrested Wednesday night in the slaying of a woman at his home.

“They framed me the first time, but this time I did it,” said Lawrence Singleton, 69, his hands cuffed behind his back, as he left a police substation for the trip to jail.

Police said Singleton was arrested after they responded to a call about a domestic dispute and made the grisly discovery.

Hillsborough sheriff’s spokesman Lt. David Gee said there were obvious signs of a struggle and that the woman, a middle-aged white female, had been stabbed repeatedly.

Someone who had gone to the house said he found Singleton naked, standing over a naked woman, and immediately left and called 911.

In California, Singleton triggered public outrage in 1987 after he was freed eight years and four months into a 14-year sentence for the 1978 mutilation-rape of a 15-year-old hitchhiker.

The victim said he cut off her forearms with an ax and then left her for dead in a ditch along a central California road. She said she pretended to be dead so he would leave. Later, she stumbled naked to a highway where a couple spotted her and took her to a hospital.

After Singleton was paroled, prison authorities shuttled him from city to city as residents staged angry demonstrations and even filed suit to keep him out of their communities.

Finally, prison authorities wound up housing him in a mobile home on the grounds of San Quentin Prison until his parole ended in 1988.


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