State police charge man who took hostages with murder

money, marital problems marked singleton's years before he took hostages

gkocher1@herald-leader.combestep@herald-leader.comJanuary 22, 2011 

A conflicting picture of Jason E. Singleton emerged Friday as police investigated the disappearance and death of the woman who had taken his name.

In a news release Friday night, state police said Singleton had been charged with murder in the death of Angela Singleton, 25. The release said police found evidence while executing search warrants Friday. Singleton was lodged in the Pulaski County Detention Center on $1 million bond.

He had a job that paid more than six figures annually, but he owes creditors thousands of dollars, and his house is in foreclosure. He drove a leased Lexus to a Somerset mall Thursday but left on foot and allegedly stole another vehicle. He had no criminal record until Thursday, when police say he held hostages at gunpoint.

And now he is accused of murdering Angela Singleton, who might or might not have been Jason Singleton's third wife.

On Friday, investigators said Angela and Jason Singleton had argued about his moving another woman into his house. Trooper Chris Lanham said Angela Singleton left Jason's Forest Hill Drive home in Richmond early Sunday. Angela Singleton, whom Lanham said was a dancer at a Lexington strip club, was reported missing by her mother on Monday night.

Later that night, Angela's Nissan Altima was found burning on the northbound side of Interstate 75 at the 101 mile marker in Fayette County. Only the engine compartment had burned, so investigators did not think there was anything suspicious, Lanham said.

"Initially we didn't suspect any foul play early on, because she had left with a friend," Lanham said. "There was no violence. It was strictly an argument. Apparently, Singleton had moved another woman into his residence, and that's what set this off with her. ...When she left with a friend, the immediate danger was not there. That's why the comment was made that we didn't suspect foul play."

State police could provide no other information about the woman Jason Singleton wanted to bring into the Richmond house.

Then, on Wednesday afternoon, a farmer found a body in a field off Tattlers Branch Road near Valley View and the Kentucky River in western Madison County. The body was identified Thursday as that of Angela Singleton.

Angela Singleton's death was being investigated as a homicide. Investigators did not get a state medical examiner's report on Friday as had been anticipated, state police and Madison County Coroner Jimmy Cornelison said.

Police took Jason Singleton, 34, into custody Thursday in Somerset after a series of odd events.

A security guard at Somerset Mall told his supervisor, Tony DePrato, that Singleton was acting jumpy and had a pair of pants draped over his shoulder.

The guard confronted Singleton, who pulled a gun. The guard told DePrato that at some point Singleton called a woman on his cell phone and said something to the effect of, "No matter what happens, remember I love you."

DePrato said Singleton ultimately ran from the mall; police say he then stole a car near the mall, wrecked it and ran to the trucking office of Super Service, a trucking company off the 914 Bypass south of the mall.

Two men in the office got away; Singleton took four others hostage for about 15 minutes before acting Somerset Police Chief Doug Nelson persuaded Singleton to give up, police said.

From that series of incidents, Jason Singleton is charged with four counts of wanton endangerment, four counts of unlawful imprisonment, disorderly conduct, car theft and criminal mischief. On Friday, Judge Jeffrey Scott Lawless entered a not guilty plea for Singleton during an arraignment in Pulaski District Court.

Singleton declined a reporter's request for an interview at the Pulaski County jail. An investigator said he was quiet on the ride to jail Thursday and did not give Somerset police much information.

"He really wasn't cooperative as far as the interview process goes," said Somerset police Detective Chris Gates.

Marital, financial problems

State police have referred to Angela Singleton as wife to Jason, but Lanham said Friday that that might be incorrect. The two applied for a marriage license Dec. 20, 2010, in Whitley County, where her parents live, but the marriage certificate to be signed by the person who performs the ceremony was never returned to the county clerk's office. Whether there was an actual marriage could not be confirmed Friday.

After his arrest Thursday, Jason Singleton indicated that he is not married on a court form to determine whether he is eligible to be represented by a public defender.

Other than Sunday's argument, there did not appear to be any record of disputes between Jason and Angela Singleton in Madison or Fayette counties.

Rosalee Hinkle, Angela Singleton's aunt, said Angela's family was surprised when she said she had gotten married. "We didn't believe her, until we saw it in the newspaper," she said. "They got married, and she didn't know anything about him, I don't think."

According to court records, Jason Singleton was married twice before meeting Angela Frazier. His 1998 marriage produced a daughter but ended in divorced in 2001, according to Fayette County court records. In 2001, while on a trip to the Philippines for Lexmark, Jason met Ann Alayu, who was working at a casino, according to Madison County court records. They struck up a long-distance relationship and then married at Pigeon Forge, Tenn., in 2002. But they separated in 2008 and divorced in 2009, Madison court records say.

Madison divorce records say that his second wife, Ann, said the atmosphere in their home "became unbearable" because Jason allowed a man and woman to stay in the house "for days at a time."

The issue came to a head on Aug. 17, 2008, court records say, when Jason packed some of Ann's belongings into a suitcase and told her, "Get out, this is not your house."

In the divorce settlement with Ann, Jason got the house, a Ford F-250 pickup and a Cadillac DeVille. She got a Ford Expedition.

Madison County court records also show that Jason Singleton was sued three times last year because of unpaid debts. BAC Home Loans Servicing sued in August for $137,668.52 owed on a mortgage on the Forest Hill Drive house. The company seeks foreclosure and wants the house to be sold.

LVNV Funding LLC, a collection agency, sued Singleton in September for $28,127.43 that he had not paid to Credit One Financial Solutions.

Finally, FIA Card Services N.A. sued Singleton for $9,344.92. The court file in this case contained four summonses notifying him about the litigation; the latest was dated Jan. 11, 2011.

State police and Madison Court records said Singleton is employed by Affiliated Computer Services Inc. in Lexington. On records in Somerset, Singleton listed his monthly income as $9,500. He listed the balance of his bank account as $30.

He listed one dependent child, age 10, and said he pays $763 a month in support, according to Somerset records. During his arraignment Friday, Singleton first said he planned to hire an attorney but then asked about having one appointed for him at public expense.

He told the judge he owns a home but it is in foreclosure and he owes more on the property than it is worth.

Lawless had scheduled another hearing for Singleton on Jan. 26.

Staff writer Shawntaye Hopkins contributed to this story.

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