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STUTTGART, Germany — A former soldier convicted of raping four women and murdering one of them was released this week from a German prison after serving 15 years of his life sentence.

Pvt. Marcellus V. Singleton III, who is now 36 or 37 years old, was released to U.S. military police custody from a state prison in Mannheim and driven by the MPs to Stuttgart, U.S. military officials said.

On Thursday, Singleton, escorted by MPs, was flown by commercial carriers to Fort Knox, Ky., where he was to be released from Army custody.

The rapes caused bad feelings between the rural German communities and U.S. military, according to F.K. Allen, the U.S. Army Europe assistant inspector general, who was then stationed in Stuttgart.

“There was a big uproar in the military community at the time,” Allen said. “Just because it happened, they (German police) were looking for a GI. It ended up being that way.”

Singleton would have to register as a sexual predator in certain states, while he would not in states that do not recognize sex crime convictions from overseas, according to Maj. Allen Hing, a spokesman with the 21st Theater Support Command, which oversees military courts in southern Germany.

Singleton would be processed at the Personnel Control Facility at Fort Knox, one of two in the U.S. that handles previously imprisoned soldiers and ones who deserted or went AWOL, a Fort Knox spokeswoman said. Singleton still has to be discharged from the Army. After that, she did not know where Singleton would go.

“That’s his decision,” Connie Shaffery, the Fort Knox public affairs officer, said.

Singleton confessed in May 1992 to the Dec. 24, 1990, rape and murder of a 17-year-old Polish immigrant, whom he hit on the head with a hammer before raping. The victim died 12 days later.

The attack occurred in Schwabisch Gmund, 25 miles east of Stuttgart, in a region known as the Swabian Alps.

Singleton at the time was assigned to Headquarters Company, 1st Infantry Division (Forward) in nearby Goeppingen.

Two months after the murder, Singleton deployed to Kuwait for three months as part of the first Gulf War. Shortly after returning from Kuwait in May 1991, he attacked a woman and her mother with a hammer and raped them, and three days later attacked and raped a fourth woman, German prosecutors said. Singleton was arrested in June 1991.

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