Hearing set for Monday on placement of sexually violent predator

Local

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A placement hearing is scheduled Monday for a sexually violent predator proposed for conditional release at a home in the Mount Helix neighborhood.

Merle Wade Wakefield, 64, who is currently housed at Coalinga State Hospital, is classified as a sexually violent predator, a designation for those convicted of sexually violent offenses and diagnosed with a mental disorder that makes them likely to re-offend.

After serving their prison sentences, sexually violent predators may undergo treatment at state hospitals, and may also petition courts to continue their treatment in supervised outpatient locations.

According to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, Wakefield was convicted of sex crimes in 1981 and 1990 and served prison terms for each crime. Wakefield petitioned for release into the Conditional Release Program — or CONREP — for sex offenders and was granted release last year.

State hospital officials have proposed placing Wakefield in a home at 10957 Horizon Hills Drive. The public court hearing regarding Wakefield’s placement is slated to begin at 9 a.m. and can be viewed here.

As Wakefield’s conditional release has already been granted, should a judge find the location to be unsuitable, the state will be tasked with finding another site to house him.

The home is the same residence that the Department of State Hospitals proposed for the placement of 78-year-old sexually violent predator Douglas Badger.

Dozens of Mount Helix residents and local elected officials urged a judge last month to reject the placement on various grounds, including concerns over how stringently Badger would be monitored and the neighborhood having a much higher population density than the remote, sparsely populated locations where SVPs are typically housed.

A ruling has not yet been issued regarding Badger’s placement, according to a Superior Court spokeswoman.

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