Release of ‘Pillowcase Rapist’ to Palmdale Area Protested at Court Hearing
A judge in San Jose listened to objections from residents of the Antelope Valley Wednesday at a public hearing on the possible release of a serial rapist to a home east of Palmdale.
Christopher Evans Hubbart, 63, was deemed fit for release last spring by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Gilbert Brown, who found that the convict’s “domicile” was Los Angeles County.
The judge ordered Hubbart moved there, and in April indicated that a home east of Palmdale could become the rapist’s residence. On Wednesday, Brown held a public hearing but did not make a decision confirming the proposed release location.
Hubbart grew up in the Pasadena and Claremont area, court records show.
Known as the “Pillowcase Rapist,” Hubbart had admitted to raping dozens of women in Southern California beginning in 1972, and had been in and out of state custody.
After his release in 1979 in the San Francisco Bay Area, he again sexually assaulted a series of women and was sentenced in 1982 to 16 years in state prison. He was released in 1990, court records show.
He reoffended and has been in state custody since 1996 and was being housed at Coalinga State Hospital. He was labeled a “sexually violent predator” under state law, a determination he unsuccessfully appealed.
Because his last conviction was in Santa Clara County, a judge there has jurisdiction over his 2013 petition for release from the state mental hospital.
His release has been vehemently opposed by Palmdale-area residents, and by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, among other Southern California politicians.
On Tuesday, KFI radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of the “John and Ken” show held a rally and broadcast live from the home where Hubbart could be relocated.
Several women from the Lake Los Angeles community traveled to San Jose to protest Hubbart’s proposed release at the Wednesday hearing, according to a Facebook page titled “No Christopher Hubbart in the Antelope Valley.”
State Assemblyman Steve Fox, a Democrat who represents the Palmdale area, was also at the hearing. A statement Fox read to the judge emphasized the lack of policing and basic services — such as paved road and street lighting — in the area where Hubbart would be released. Only two sheriff’s deputies police Lake Los Angeles during the day, Fox said.
“Each time that Mr. Hubbart has been released from custody, he has raped or attempted to rape women in his community. While no community would want to accept a person who admits that he raped 70 women, other communities provide a more adequate police presence,” Fox’s statement read. “Mr. Hubbart would present a clear and present danger to his neighbors, and would be an instant target for vigilantes.”
Hubbart was not expected to be at the hearing, according to a news release from the Santa Clara County Superior Court.
After a landlord agreed to rent a home in a remote area of the High Desert to Hubbart, Brown ruled in early April that the location could be appropriate for Hubbart’s release.
The home is on a dirt road — the 20300 block of East Avenue R — in a sparsely populated unincorporated area about 20 miles east of Palmdale.
“He would be my nearest neighbor. I think it’s frightening,” area resident Sharon Duvernay said on April 4, when Brown approved the potential relocation address. “I don’t want someone like that living near me.”
At the April hearing, the judge opened up a 45-day public comment period, which was set to conclude with Wednesday’s hearing.
Brown was expected to make a decision on the release location “in the near future,” according to Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for Lacey’s office.
Once the judge confirms the location, Hubbart would be expected to be sent to Los Angeles County within 45 days, Robison said.
Multiple prosecutors from Los Angeles County were at the hearing and were delivering thousands of letters of protest to the judge, and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Chief William J. McSweeney also objected to the relocation, Robison said. Five citizens traveled to the hearing to speak against the proposed release, she added.
Another landlord removed a previous home from consideration for Hubbart’s housing after a public outcry last fall, and Brown canceled a public hearing on that proposed relocation address. The home was in Lake Los Angeles, about 7 miles away from the new proposed address.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Hubbart’s middle name. The article has been updated.