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Motley Crue singer gets jail preference

TORRANCE, Calif. -- The lead singer of the heavy-metal rock band Motley Crue will serve his jail term for vehicular manslaughter in the Gardena City Jail instead of the county jail because of fears for his safety, officials said.

Vincent Neil Wharton, 24, who uses the stage name Vince Neil, surrendered Monday to begin a 30-day county jail term for vehicular manslaughter but was allowed to remain free until next month.

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Superior Court Judge Cecil Mills granted a defense motion to allow Wharton to remain free so that he can serve his term in the Gardena City Jail. Wharton is to surrender to Gardena police on July 14.

Deputy District Attorney Peter Berman said Wharton's attorney, Robert Courtney, wanted his client to stay in the Gardena jail because he was concerned that Wharton, with his long blond hair and boyish looks, would be preyed on by county jail inmates.

Courtney was not immediately available to comment.

Wharton pleaded guilty in July to vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving charges stemming from a December 1984 traffic accident that killed Nicholas Dingley, 24, the drummer for the defunct Finnish rock group, Hanoi Rocks.

Wharton was sentenced last September by Superior Court Judge Edward Hinz Jr. and ordered to pay $2.6 million restitution to the Dingley estate and two other people injured in the traffic accident.

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Hinz also sentenced Wharton, of Redondo Beach, to 30 days in jail and five years' probation and ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service.

The judge allowed Wharton to delay serving his jail term until this month to allow him to tour with his band in the United States and Europe.

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