DA to fight serial rapist’s relocation

July 9, 2013 

Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey says a Santa Clara judge erred in allowing Christopher Hubbart to live in L.A. County.

Los Angeles County officials do not want the “Pillowcase Rapist” returning to the scene of his crimes.

In the early 1970s, Christopher Evans Hubbart admitted raping more than 20 women in the L.A. region and Orange County, placing a pillowcase over their heads before his violent assaults. Freed in 1979 after doctors at Atascadero State Hospital determined he was no longer a threat, Hubbart went on to rape at least 15 more women in Northern California, serving another eight years behind bars. Paroled in 1990, he promptly tried to sexually assault two more women and was incarcerated again.

Hubbart was considered such a continuing menace that, as his next release date approached in the mid-1990s on a parole violation, the state legislature passed the Sexually Violent Predators Act, empowering authorities to keep serial offenders like him under lock and key in state hospitals until they’re deemed safe for release. When the law took effect in January, 1996, Hubbart was the first state prisoner subjected to its civil commitment requirements. Hubbart appealed to the California Supreme Court but lost.

Now nearly 20 years later, at the age of 62, Hubbart’s getting out again. After hearing testimony from state mental health professionals in April, a Superior Court judge in Santa Clara County ruled that Hubbart was eligible for “conditional release” from Coalinga State Hospital. The following month, the judge determined that, despite strong objections from prosecutors here, Hubbart should return to Los Angeles County, his last address, where he would remain under close scrutiny and supervision—including electronic monitoring—while continuing treatment.

But members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and newly elected District Attorney Jackie Lacey made it clear Tuesday that they are determined to bring public and legal pressure to bear to keep him out of L.A., where his terrorizing crime spree began.

“This inmate has a long history of horrific violence against women and we must act to keep our community safe,” Lacey said in announcing that her office was filing a writ with the 6th District Court of Appeals in San Jose to overturn the Superior Court’s ruling that Hubbart should be released in Los Angeles. County prosecutors are challenging only the ruling on Hubbart’s domicile.

Hubbart in an undated photograph.

In the writ, the District Attorney’s Office contends that the court ignored evidence of Hubbart’s long residency in Northern California, where “he committed rapes, sodomy, and forcible oral copulation” at a rate of two women a month until late November 1981. The document goes on to say that Hubbart has no remaining family in Los Angeles County.

Lacey’s action was first announced by her staff during a Tuesday meeting of the Board of Supervisors, which had expressed concern—and anger—over Hubbart’s court-ordered relocation to Los Angeles County.

“Perhaps the judge should take him, if he wants him out so badly, and let him live in Santa Clara in his neighborhood,” Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said of the Northern California jurist presiding over the matter.

Said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky: “I think this county needs to do everything it possibly can to protect its citizens and especially victims of this particular individual’s crimes in past years who reside in this county.”

Should the county’s appeal fail, officials here would be required under the Sexually Violent Predators Act to assist Liberty Healtin locating housing for Hubbart here, which would include such factors as its proximity to the crime victims and their next of kin. But Hubbard would remain under the jurisdiction of the Santa Clara Superior Court.

District Attorney Lacey said in a statement that she already has instructed her staff to begin notifying victims of Hubbart’s Los Angeles County cases about his possible release from custody, which is currently expected as early as November.

Posted 7/9/13

 

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