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Californian who hacked teen’s arms dies in Florida

SHARE Californian who hacked teen’s arms dies in Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Lawrence Singleton, who chopped off a teenage hitchhiker's forearms in California and was later sent to death row in Florida for killing a prostitute, has died of cancer behind bars. He was 74.

Singleton died Friday at the North Florida Reception Center in Starke. He had been on death row since 1997, but no execution date had been set.

In 1978, Singleton raped 15-year-old Mary Vincent, cut off her forearms with an ax and left her to die. In a decision that caused a furor in California, the retired merchant marine seaman was paroled in 1987 after serving eight years.

Outraged California communities refused to accept him, and authorities ended up housing him in a mobile home at San Quentin Prison until his parole was up in 1988.

While Vincent went into hiding, Singleton's release prompted changes in California law that meant longer sentences for violent criminals.

Singleton eventually came to Tampa, where he had spent his childhood.

A jury in Florida convicted him of murder for stabbing to death 31-year-old Roxanne Hayes at his Tampa home in 1997.