The decision upset nearly everyone who attended the hearing for Alvin Ray Quarles, now 56, who sexually assaulted 12 women in Pacific Beach, Mission Bay Park, Old Town, and elsewhere from 1985-1988.
San Diego Superior Court Judge David Gill closed most of the hearing last week to the public and press, and only allowed people inside late Monday to hear his ruling. Quarles' attorney had requested the hearing be closed as some of it involved a supplemental evaluation of how Quarles has been doing at Coalinga State Hospital.
Quarles was present Monday and said nothing in court. He was transferred from Coalinga to the Vista Detention Facility on July 18 and remains there without bail. Gill said he might send Quarles back to the Coalinga hospital if a placement hearing is not scheduled for some months off.
Quarles was sentenced in 1989 to 50 years in prison, but the state Department of Corrections determined he finished his term after serving 25 years under the law at the time. Quarles was then determined to be a sexually violent predator (SVP), and was sent to a state mental hospital for treatment.
"If I had my pick, I would put him next to Judge Gill's house," said County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, afterwards in a court hallway to applause from dozens of protesters and two victims.
"I'm extremely disappointed in the decision. Conditional release means he's not safe to be released," said Jacob. "He needs to stay locked up. Put him out in the desert where there's no one around."
In Monday's ruling, Gill re-affirmed his earlier decision of Oct. 12, 2018, to release Quarles to Liberty Healthcare, the agency that contracts with the state of California to provide security personnel to be with Quarles at all times, at a house at Jacumba Hot Springs.
The Jacumba placement fell through after it was learned the state was not dealing with the correct owner of the house and the placement was rescinded a week later.
On Monday, Gill said the decision was "a close call," but added "he can be effectively managed...in a monitored restrictive program."
"This is an interim step. It is a process," said Gill, who is the longest serving judge in the county after being appointed in 1978 by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Quarles will be required to wear a GPS monitoring device, banned from drinking alcohol, and would have security personnel accompany him everywhere he goes.
The judge directed Liberty Healthcare to research areas where Quarles could live and to return to court Aug. 30 for a status conference. Once a site is proposed, a placement hearing will be held in open court where residents and others can make public comments about the site.
"He's an idiot. That's all I can say about Judge Gill," said Cynthia Medina, who is one of the 12 victims who was assaulted in 1988.
Medina was assaulted in an Old Town motel in 1988, which has since been torn down. She was assaulted with her husband in the same room, as were most of the victims who were threatened by Quarles at knifepoint. He gained the nickname "Bolder Than Most" because he would assault victims in the presence of others.
"He's a monster," said Medina, referring to Quarles. "We got the worst life sentence."
Mary Taylor, another victim, said she was disappointed the hearings were closed this time around.
"How can I accept this decision when I was cut out of it?" said Taylor, who said she wanted to know what information was said about Quarles behind closed doors.
"We're disappointed with the judge's ruling," said Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto afterwards. "We can't talk about any of the evidence because it was closed."
Coto did confirm that she will ask that Quarles be placed outside San Diego County because so many victims still live here.
Quarles pleaded guilty to committing four rapes, two robberies, and six burglaries of all 12 victims in 1988 to indicate a felony conviction with each victim. Quarles petitioned for release, but he has not finished the four-phase treatment program at Coalinga, which is why Gill said he may send Quarles back to the hospital if a placement hearing is not set soon.