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'Pillowcase Rapist' moved into rural California community amid protests

The so-called "Pillowcase Rapist," who admitted to raping at least 40 women decades ago, was released from a mental hospital and moved into a California home Wednesday amid fierce opposition by prosecutors and the community.

Christopher Hubbart, 63, who terrorized women in Los Angeles and San Francisco between 1971 and 1982, arrived at his new home in Lake Los Angeles -- an unincorporated area of Antelope Valley near Palmdale -- as residents of the rural, desert community stood outside the house in protest.

Cheryl Holbrook, a member of the opposition group Ladies of Lake LA, said Hubbart arrived at approximately 1:40 p.m. in a silver car, hiding his face as he walked into the back of the modest, white one-story home. He was accompanied by guards, and two sheriff's patrol cars could be seen on the street, according to witnesses.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Gilbert Brown ordered last year that Hubbart be released into the Lake Los Angeles area because he was born and raised there. Since 1996, Hubbart has been confined to a state mental hospital, where he was considered a sexually violent predator.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey petitioned the state Supreme Court in July 2013 to block Hubbart’s release, but the court denied her request, prompting widespread protests from residents.  

While sheriff's deputies have pledged to do all they can to ensure safety, residents are daunted by the release of Hubbart, who earned his grim moniker for the method of his crimes: binding victims' hands before pulling pillowcases over their heads to silence their screams. He was often known to look for children's toys outside homes, believing that mothers might be less resistant to his assaults in an attempt to protect their children.

"I'm terrified"

- Sharon Duvernay, Lake Los Angeles resident

Hubbart's former parole officer, John Bays, wrote in a November 2013 letter to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office that he feared the convicted rapist, "more than a Mexican Mafia Killer."

"I know more about Christopher Hubbart than I care to remember," wrote Bays, who served as Hubbart's parole officer in the 1990s. "Why does Chris scare me more than a Mexican Mafia Killer? Because Hubbart's actions are 'compulsive' ... personal compulsions at the expense of another's life."

Similarly, Joseph Marino, a retired detective with the Oxnard Police Department, wrote Brown directly in April to express vehement opposition to Hubbart's release.

Marino wrote that releasing Hubbart would, "undoubtedly endanger an incalculable number of victims all over again." 

"Hubbart has been rehabilitated?" wrote Marino. "If that’s the premise/theory precipitating his release, those of us paying attention, especially those of us who have worked the streets and have seen the system fail over and again, know beyond any reasonable doubt that this is an absolutely untrue possibility."

Hubbart's criminal record shows many repeat offenses.

After Hubbart was released from a state hospital in 1979, he was later convicted for assaults in the San Francisco area and re-admitted to a mental health facility. Following his parole in 1990, he attacked a female jogger and was imprisoned again.

When his prison term ended in 1996, he was sent to Coalinga State Hospital.

Multiple sources identified Hubbart's landlord as Martyn Haggett, a convicted felon who served eight years in prison for hiring a hitman to kill his then-estranged wife and her boyfriend.

Records obtained by FoxNews.com show Haggett purchased the property where Hubbart will reside on January 2. Haggett could not be reached for comment.

Liberty Health Care, the company responsible for monitoring Hubbart for several weeks after his release, is renting the home from Haggett. Palmdale Mayor James Ledford previously told The Associated Press the state would pay about $2,400 per month for a home that would normally rent for just $500.

Hubbart will not be on probation or parole, law enforcement says, but he will wear a GPS ankle bracelet and register as a sex offender with the Lancaster Sheriff's Station, one of 23 subdivisions of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department directly tasked with security matters surrounding Hubbart. He will also be required to continue treatment and obey a curfew, as well as be subject to random searches, drug testing and polygraphs, according to police. 

Still, the requirements of his release have not put area residents at ease -- in particular, Sharon Duvernay, Hubbart's closest neighbor, who is also a rape victim.

"I'm terrified," 62-year-old Duvernay, a retired elementary school teacher, told FoxNews.com in an interview last month. "We tried to do everything within the law to keep him from moving here. We collected more than 12,000 letters to the judge."

Duvernay, who was raped by a neighbor in New Orleans when she was 3 years old, said the news of Hubbart's release brought back "all the memories" of her childhood trauma.

"When you've done this all your life, you're going to repeat it," added Deb Hill, another area resident. "I believe that this time he won't leave the victim around to tell the story." 

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