legal system

Photo of the Day

Vincent walks her two dogs, Danny, left, and Mikey. Vincent and her two sons also have hamsters, fish and an ill-tempered parrot. Photo: Ron Wurzer/Seattle Post-Intelligence

Victims Get A Life Sentence

Shared DNA is Not a Reason to have a Relationship with a Monster

One night when she couldn’t sleep, Mary Vincent got out of bed and drew her face. Within an hour, her large, dark eyes were looking back at her, drawn in pencil and accompanied by handsome high cheekbones, firm jaw and generous mouth. She even drew the tiny dent on the tip of her nose.

Considering that she hadn’t drawn anything more demanding than a shopping list since childhood, her proficiency was remarkable, but not to her.

“I’ve always been good with my hands,” she said.

True — except she doesn’t have hands.

In a nation beset by violent crime, even the most spectacularly vicious acts often fade quickly from the public consciousness, as if some sort of collective repression simply buries images too ghastly to retain. Certain horrors, however, seize the imagination and provoke public outrage years after the hideous drama has been concluded.

Larry Singleton was convicted of raping 15-year-old Mary Vincent, hacking her forearms off, and leaving her for dead in a California canyon. It was an act so barbaric that it was never forgotten; when Singleton, was paroled he was hounded out of one community after another. Not one town would have him, and the outcry forced him to accept refuge within the walls of San Quentin Prison, where he remained for the duration of his parole.

Lawrence Singleton’s daughter didn’t want to believe her father was a monster, but the evidence was there and she said she had “no doubt that he was guilty.” He had also physically attacked her as a teen so she knew first hand what his temper was like. She was 15 years old at the time of the crime.

The family of Singleton as well, and many others whose crimes become national and world news do have to face the public’s scorn.

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