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Florida Takes First Step in Returning Sex Offender

Associated Press

A Dade County judge Friday committed to a Florida mental hospital a California sex offender who flew to Miami on a one-way ticket purchased by Santa Monica’s police chief.

Weston Hill, 44, will be transferred from the psychiatric ward at Jackson Memorial Hospital here to Florida State Hospital at Chattahoochee next Thursday, prosecutor Pam Thomas said.

The order was signed by Judge Calvin Mapp as the first step in returning Hill to California, Thomas said.

An agreement between states allows a patient committed to a mental hospital in one state to be transferred to a similar hospital in another, she said.

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“We will be attempting to do that after he is properly committed,” Thomas said.

Alternate Plan

But if no California mental hospital accepts Hill, Mapp announced an alternate plan: with money for airfare donated by Fort Lauderdale radio station WHYI, Hill would be escorted back to California by Metro-Dade police officers.

Mapp said he will order Hill released from Chattahoochee and sent back to California at a June 12 hearing if that state refuses to accept a transfer to a mental hospital there.

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“He will be accompanied because . . . he is insane and a danger. I wouldn’t want him to create an injury on the plane,” Mapp said. “They should never have suggested sending him here in the first place.”

Mapp signed the order after two psychiatrists testified that Hill was incompetent to stand trial on charges of indecent exposure and malicious mischief and posed a danger to himself and others, Thomas said.

Hill did not attend the hearing.

“He wasn’t brought over. He’s in the hospital, in a quiet room because he’s difficult to handle,” Thomas said.

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Official Apologies

In a letter received in Miami earlier this week, the mayor of Santa Monica apologized for sending the convicted rapist to Florida in retaliation for that state sending a prostitute to California two years ago.

Other officials, including Santa Monica Police Chief James Keane, who purchased Hill’s ticket to Miami two months ago, also apologized to their Miami counterparts. Keane said he was upset that mental hospitals kept releasing Hill.

Soon after he arrived in Miami, Hill was arrested on the indecent exposure and malicious mischief charges.

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Miami commissioners threatened to sue Santa Monica when they discovered how Hill had arrived here, charging the California city was dumping criminals in Miami.

But last week the Miami City Commission agreed not to pursue the suit in exchange for a formal apology offered by Santa Monica City Atty. Robert Myers in a letter.


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