Las Vegas Sun

January 18, 2018

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Judge declares mistrial in Singleton murder case

Circuit Judge Bob Anderson Mitcham ruled the media had violated his order not to broadcast close-ups of prospective jurors.

Mitcham said the jury selection process had been tainted, The Tampa Tribune reported in its Thursday editions.

"It's very important that we adhere to the rules set out by our judges and courts," Mitcham said.

A hearing was set for Thursday morning.

Singleton gained national notoriety 19 years ago when he was convicted of raping a 15-year-old California hitchhiker.

After serving eight years of a 14-year sentence for raping and chopping off the arms of Mary Vincent with an ax and leaving her for dead, Singleton returned to his native Tampa.

Singleton, 70, is accused of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of prostitute Roxanne Hayes, 31, at his home Feb. 19. Police say Singleton confessed to the killing.

From an initial panel of 125 people, prosecutors and defense lawyers had narrowed the prospects to 48. Mitcham now has 90 days to begin to pick another jury.

But he could also decide there has been too much publicity here. He said in court Wednesday that he could pick a jury in another county and bring them here for the trial.

Prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty if Singleton is convicted.