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Suspect was murder victim's neighbor, had violent past

Robert Craig Sandman

Robert Craig Sandman

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Robert Sandman had a history of violence at 3176 Montheath Pass, just a few doors down from the home where Donald Singer -- the murder victim whose Porsche Sandman is believed to be in possession of -- was found dead.

On Wednesday, six days after 57-year-old Singer was discovered dead inside his garage, Duluth police issued arrest warrants charging Sandman with the theft of Singer's red 1988 Porsche 944. They have not charged Sandman with murder or named any other suspects connected to the case; as of Thursday afternoon, Sandman was on the lam.

Capt. Mark Hunter said Thursday that there was "no known relationship, contact or anything" between Singer and Sandman.

But just two days before Singer's body was found covered in a blanket and towel, Sandman was released from a Georgia prison after serving about 10 months split between there and the Gwinnett County jail. The charges -- aggravated stalking, theft by taking -- stemmed from a tumultuous and violent relationship with a former girlfriend, one with whom he had briefly lived down the street from Singer.

According to a protective order filed last March by the ex-girlfriend, Sandman frequently attacked her, choking her until she passed out and "to the point of wetting myself" at least three times at their Montheath Pass home, some 450 feet from Singer's front door. On separate occasions, Sandman allegedly pointed a gun at the victim, threatening to kill her.

Other documents said Sandman sent emails and made phone calls even after being ordered to stay away, once sending more than 200 text messages in a three-hour span.

During Sandman's November plea hearing, the former girlfriend told Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Ronnie Batchelor that she didn't "know why in the world he is even still able to put someone like me in this position."

"And I'm afraid once he's out that he's going to do the same thing to somebody else," she said. "I mean it's just -- it's destined to happen."

In February, she filed a motion to make the temporary family violence protective order a permanent one. That motion was granted on March 14, eight days before Sandman was released from Jackson State Prison, ordering him to stay away from her home and Norcross workplace.

Hunter, the Duluth police captain, said Singer and Sandman's estranged girlfriend "knew one another as neighbors" but didn't elaborate.

The specific cause of Singer's death has not been released, nor have many details other than a broken backdoor window pane and an overwhelming bleach smell at the scene.

Anyone who comes into contact with Sandman, who has ties to Calhoun and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or the missing Porsche is asked to contact Duluth Police Det. Jimmy Purvis at 770-476-4151.

Comments

notblind 1 year, 7 months ago

Why are people like this not put behind bars forever?

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Kat 1 year, 7 months ago

A protective order is only a piece of paper. It may deter someone who has momentarily exercised bad judgement. But a person like Mr. Sandman will continue to break the law with temporary consequences of being locked up and then released. If I were the former girlfriend I would file for a name change and move.

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