Produced by Liza Finley, Ruth Chenetz and Sarah Prior
[This story first aired on February 25, 2017. It was updated on September 9, 2017.]
On June 10, 2016, singerwas shot dead by a fan she didn’t know was stalking her online. He showed up at an Orlando, Fla., concert armed with two handguns. Grimmie’s death “should be a huge wake-up call,” says Perrette, who has been stalked for more than a decade. “Anyone watching this at any time could suddenly become a victim of a stalker.”
“’48 Hours” exposes the extreme, often debilitating emotional toll that being stalked has had on Perrette and others, including a lawyer, a single mother and an internet celebrity. They explain vividly, through intimate interviews, what it feels like to be targeted and how being stalked made their lives feel smaller.
On June 10, 2016, Christina Grimmie reached out to her fans on the last leg of her multi-city concert tour with the band, Before You Exit.
Christina Grimmie video: Hey guys. What’s up. We’re in Orlando today. Please come to the show tonight if you live near Orlando, Florida.
“It’s very eerie to look at that now,” Bria Kelly said of the video. “I would give anything to go back to when I last saw her two days before it happened and warn her. I’d give anything to be able to do that.”
Christina’s close friend, singer Bria Kelly, will never get that chance.
Operator: Emergency 911
Caller: Somebody just, uh, opened fire at the Plaza Live…He shot at one of the singers…He shot three times.
“There were several panicked 911 calls,” said Lead Detective Michael Moreschi of the Orlando Police Department.
He says there was mass chaos with blood everywhere when first responders got to the scene.
“When they first walked in there was private citizens performing CPR upon a young lady,” the detective said.
That young lady was 22-year-old Christina Grimmie. She had just finished the concert.
“As she always did, she interacted with her fans after the show by signing autographs, taking pictures … while her brother, Marcus, sat just a few feet away from her … selling merchandise,” said Det. Moreschi.
In line to meet the singer was 27-year-old Kevin Loibl, who can be seen in a photograph, standing at the back of the theater. Eyewitnesses would later tell the detective he didn’t utter a word.
“He just waited in line. When it was his turn he just started shooting Christina,” said Det. Moreschi.
“The very first shot– struck Christina in the head, the gunpowder burnt the side of her head. So he was very close range when he fatally shot her,” Moreschi explained. “He just continued to fire at her as … she went down … She was shot once in the head and twice in the torso.”
“Marcus Grimmie … reacted by going after him … when the shooting started. And this guy backed up against a wall and shot himself in the head” Moreschi continued. “He was dead on the scene.”
“She had no clue that this man was stalking her over the internet who was coming here tonight or that she was in any danger at all,” the detective explained.
Christina Grimmie never thought of the internet as dangerous, but a place for a young girl with a big dream to sing her way onto the world stage; Just her, alone, from the safety of her bedroom in south Jersey.
“No electronics. Just a video camera and her. And you just saw the raw talent. And I was like, ‘this girl is really good,'” Tyler Ward said. “She’s not trying to perform or prove herself. It was just like she was her in her room. And people connected.”
Singer-songwriter Tyler Ward immediately recognized a kindred spirit.
“We had this bond growing in social media together, figuring it out together, being some of the very first people on a platform like YouTube, like Twitter, and figuring out, ‘OK.what are we– what are we doing.”
They became fast friends and made a video together, “How to Love.”
“And she was just blowin’ up,” said Ward.
“And when you say blowin’ up, what do you mean by that,” Moriarty asked.
“When I mean blowin up — she’s gainin’ fans quickly,” Ward explained.
“How many people are we talking about?”
“Millions and millions and millions of people,” said Ward.
“What was it about Christina Grimmie that drew people?” Moriarty asked.
“Wow. There was something about Christina that connected with people because it told people watching, ‘I might be able to do what she’s doing. She’s just a normal girl in a small town doin’ life, and people are noticing.’ And it gave ’em hope,” Ward explained.
In 2011, the YouTube sensation started making a big splash in the real world. There was an appearance with Tyler on “Ellen” and a tour with Selena Gomez.
And then her big break: a coveted spot on the reality singing show, “The Voice.” Bria Kelly, also a contestant, remembers their first meeting.
“Everyone had been freaking out that Christina was on … the show. Because they thought that she was already famous,” Kelly explained. ” I was, like, the one person who didn’t know who she was [laughs] so she just says, ‘Dude, shut up. … I’m just like you. You wanna hang out?’ And we hung out that night. And were inseparable for the rest of the show.”
Christina made it to the final three of “The Voice,” bringing the house down with a powerful rendition of the song, “Wrecking Ball.”
“I was freaking out backstage, I was like, ‘Woo, bring it home, Christina, that’s my girl,'” said Kelly.
Grimmie didn’t win, but that didn’t stop her meteoric rise. But as Christina was taking off, a young man in Florida, Kevin Loibl, was becoming obsessed.
“He felt… that Christina was his soul mate,” said Det. Moreschi.
Loibl followed her every move online, says the detective. He even altered his appearance to make himself more attractive to her.
“That included getting hair plugs, having Lasik eye surgery — losing weight. He lost about 50 pounds,” said Det. Moreschi.
While Loibl’s fantasies intensified, the Grimmie family—completely unaware—relocated from New Jersey to Los Angeles for Christina’s career.
There was a co-starring role in a movie, “The Matchbreaker,” high-profile tours, and an album in the works. Her world was in bloom.
“She had so much more left to give. And she was the last person in the world that I would ever suspect would be shot,” said Kelly.
“This case was unique in the fact that there really … there was no warning,” said Det. Moreschi.
In search of answers, the detective made a trip to St. Petersburg, Florida where Kevin Loibl lived with his father.
“We went into his bedroom. It was very nondescript,” Det. Moreschi said. “There was one window, and it was covered in aluminum foil. That was from what his father described of him having an aversion to light.”
Kevin Loibl rarely left his room except to go to his part-time job as a member of the Geek Squad at Best Buy, where, according to a casual work friend, everyone knew about Loibl’s infatuation with Christina Grimmie.
“The friend realized at some point that this was not a normal obsession, or even an internet crush,” said Det. Moreschi.
Loibl’s friend became so worried, he spoke to a manager about it. But the manager didn’t act on it because he didn’t think it was a workplace issue.
That’s understandable. But Det. Moreschi says, in hindsight, the warning signs were there.
“He had said some goodbyes,” he explained. “The last day that he worked, he told a coworker that he was — he was tired and he was ready to ascend.”
Kevin Loibl printed out a flyer for his own burial service, destroyed all his hard drives , and then on a warm June day, hired a taxi to make the hour-and-a-half trip from St. Petersburg to Orlando.
“He came armed with two handguns. He was wearing an untucked shirt to conceal those two guns. And He also had a knife — strapped to his ankle with a — with a nylon strap,” said Moreschi.
Loibl waited quietly in the back of the theater to finally meet the woman he called his soul mate.
WHEN AN OBSESSION TURNS DEADLY
Singing sensation Christina Grimmie died the way she lived– with open arms, embracing her fans.
Christina Grimmie YouTube video: Each night I’ll be updating my Facebook and Twitter and telling you guys where the meet and greet is so you guys don’t get lost…”
“She was really great with her fans, every single one of them. She would never turn somebody away,” said Tyler Ward.
“I’ve heard of, like, stalkers. But I never heard of like someone who’s so infatuated with someone,”
Bria Kelly said,” that they feel the need to end their life.”
Christina’s friends are haunted by the idea that a stalker, who seemed to admire the singer, shot and killed her.
“She had a stalker in the sense of the modern age that we live in, of celebrities having to put themselves out on social media … You can follow them on Twitter and follow their personal lives,” Det. Moreschi said. “Christina was very much that. She was very accessible– to her fans.”
Clinical Police and Forensic Psychologist Kris Mohandie has spent decades studying the minds of stalkers.
“The internet fed what we call — erotomania,” Mohandie explained. “Erotomania is the delusional belief that you actually have a relationship with somebody else.”
A relationship that is one-sided. Despite Kevin Loibl being a complete stranger to Christina, he thought she was the love of his life. But why then, would he want to kill her?
“The need to possess or merge with the victim can cause them to conclude that by taking a life they will form a permanent bond,” Mohandie explained.
This type of possessive, fantasy relationship was behind another celebrity murder, the 1989 shooting of sitcom star Rebecca Schaeffer by an obsessed fan.
“The Grimmie case is very reminiscent of the Rebecca Schaeffer tragedy. Here we have another rising star who is not yet aware of the menaces that were within her fan base,” said Mohandie.
Schaeffer’s stalker had written to the young actress and showed up where her show was filmed. Security turned him away. Undeterred, he went to the actress’s home, rang the doorbell and shot her when she opened the door.
The brutal murder of the 21-year-old was a call to action. It pushed California to create the first law in the country defining stalking as harassing or threatening someone with the intent to cause fear.
“Why was that so shocking? Up to then, did we just view stalking as more like a nuisance as opposed to anything else?” Moriarty asked Deputy District Attorney Wendy Segall.
“It had not reached that level where a young woman had been murdered. And I think, at that point, California realized the problem they had with stalkers,” Segall replied.
The law made stalking a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.
“It started as a misdemeanor and within a few years was changed to … include a felony,” said Segall.
Deputy D.A. Segall was known for years as the “stalking prosecutor,” handling dozens of cases involving A-list celebrities, including Halle Berry, Selena Gomez and Sandra Bullock. She led the Los Angeles County D.A.’s stalking and threat assessment team, which has seen the number of stalking cases soar – as has the rest of the country, in large part, due to the internet.
“Now people are being followed by Twitter, by Facebook. With all the social media, there’s a lot more stalking,” Segall explained. “It’s helped the stalker because now he can find his victim or her victim so easily.”
From YouTube stars to movie stars, it’s hard to escape.
“I hate to say that if you’re a celebrity and you’re famous it comes with the territory, but it does,” Mohandie explained. ” The more people that are following you, the more fans you have, the greater the likelihood that there’s gonna be an unstable person in that midst who’s going to believe that they have more of a relationship than they actually do.”
That was the case for Sandra Bullock. In 2014, the actress faced her scariest role as a real-life stalking victim. Her stalker, professing his love for Bullock, jumped her fence and broke into her locked home, awakening the actress.
A frightened Bullock called 911.
Sandra Bullock to 911: …someone has broken into my house. I’m locked in my closet. I have a safe door in my bedroom and I — I’ve locked it, and I’m locked in the closet right now.
Sandra Bullock: All I saw was like dark sweatshirt and dark pants…
Police: What’s your name, ma’am?
Sandra Bullock: Uh, Sandra Bullock… I hear someone banging on the door.
Police: To your bedroom?
Sandra Bullock: Yes.
Police arrived 15 minutes after the call. They arrested the stalker, Joshua Corbett, who had letters to Bullock on him – one signed, “always and forever, love, your husband.” Another, stating “i want to f— you so bad.” They learned he had been casing her house several days before. And, a search of Corbett’s home revealed an arsenal of weapons.
“That Sandra Bullock’s stalker found her house, got into her home, you know, that’s the worst case scenario,” Mohandie said. “Despite her resources, despite all the efforts that have been made to keep her safe, that this person was determined enough, resourceful enough, and driven enough to do that—terrifying.”
“The fact that he broke in — is that an indication he meant to hurt her if he could have?” Moriarty asked.
“When they come in like that, all that trouble to break in, they’re not there to bake cookies,” Mohandie replied.
In fact, at a preliminary hearing, where Segall was the prosecutor, the idea that rape might have been part of his plan was discussed…
Segall in court: there is not a more clear cut case of stalking than this one…
Judge: there was a sexual component to the intent he had…
Corbett’s lawyers disagreed.
“He is not dangerous, what he needs is help. He is a troubled young man that needs help,” a lawyer addressed reporters.
In May 2017, Corbett pleaded no contest to one felony count each of stalking and first-degree residential burglary and was sentenced to five years probation. But that doesn’t mean Bullock, like any other potential stalking victim, is safe.
“You never know who’s watching you … And you don’t know who’s watching you over the internet,” Segall explained. “You’re out there now in a way that you never were before.”
Something actress Pauley Perrette knows all too well.
“I was afraid of my computer — afraid to open it, afraid to check my emails,” Perrette said. “The whole world is such a frightening place for me.”
STALKING VICTIMS BREAK THEIR SILENCE
We know her as the quirky forensic scientist on the CBS show, “NCIS.” Actress Pauley Perrette is also a singer, former model, published author, civil rights activist and something far less desirable. For over a decade, Perrette says she has lived in a state of hyper vigilance — on guard 24 hours a day, waiting for her stalker’s next move.
“You think your life could be in danger?” Erin Moriarty asked Perrette.
“Absolutely—100 percent,” she replied without hesitation.
Though her stalker has not explicitly threatened her life, Perrette’s fear is always that his harassment will escalate.
“And you have to live with that every day?” Moriarty asked.
“Every day. We all do, every victim does,” she said.
Unwilling to give her tormentor the attention she says he craves, Perrette doesn’t want to go into detail about him or her case, but says he came close to destroying her.
“I had been harassed and terrorized for so long … I was completely suicidal,” she said. “I just was like, ‘I can’t live like this. I can’t.'”
Adding to her anguish, Perrette says law enforcement was slow to take her pleas for help seriously.
“I was told by a police officer once that I should have stayed and let my stalker break my arms so then they would have something to prosecute,” she said. “I went, ‘I don’t want my arms broken.'”
“The first victimization is being stalked and terrorized and harassed and,” Perrette continued, “the second victimization is that the system does not work for stalking victims. It simply does not.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in six women and one in 19 men have experienced stalking to the point that they felt very fearful or believed they or someone close would be harmed or killed. Perrette says, it’s time do something experts often advise against—speak out.
“Was that hard for you, to sit down here today?” Moriarty asked the actress.
“I’m so scared sitting here talking about it. It– it just– it puts the same fear into every victim. But we can’t keep this a secret,” she replied. “We have to be courageous. We have to get these laws changed. I’m here for other victims. I’m here for the next victim.”
Peggy is a lawyer and a single mother.
“I don’t vote. I don’t have Facebook, I don’t have Twitter,” she said. “I can’t be like a normal mom and post pictures of my son on my Facebook page. When I say ‘I can’t,’ I mean I’m in fear to do that.”
Her stalker is a man she dated briefly. After the relationship ended, he began sending her increasingly disturbing emails and voicemails.
“Did you report that, initially?” Moriarty asked Peggy.
“I did. I didn’t want to because I didn’t want to bring any attention to myself,” she replied.
But Peggy says, instead of protection, she got a lecture.
“One of the officers said, ‘Well, how did you meet him?'” Peggy said. “I go, ‘I met him online.’ And he said, ‘Well, you know, you really should know better than meeting anyone online when you have a child.'”
Peggy says she spoke to almost no one about being stalked — not even her closest family and friends.
“I feel a lot of shame, I guess, and guilt. Not just because of– my own sense, ‘How could I be involved with this person’ — but the way that even people who love me reacted to it,” Peggy explained.
“The average person may not have a full appreciation for what it’s like to live with this — ‘ah, what’s the harm, you go someone that thinks you’re, you know, beautiful, or how flattering that must be’ — but it’s not,” Mohandie stressed. “Some victims become so traumatized that they completely stop doing activities that they used to do in order to keep themselves safe at least in their own mind. So they may find themselves basically in a jail without bars.”
“I had pretty much cut myself off from most of my friends, I didn’t really talk about what was going on,” said Katherine.
Like Peggy, Katherine was stalked by a former boyfriend. His name: Jeffrey Gouda.
“The most frequent stalking pattern is a former lover, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend pursuing because they don’t want to let go of the relationship, or they want to punish the person for leaving them,” Mohandie explained.
“That’s the most common?” Moriarty asked.
“Most common, most dangerous,” Mohandie affirmed.
In Katherine’s case, her ex kept her under surveillance – following her every move for months.
“Are you afraid of just seeing him or are you actually afraid?” Moriarty asked Katherine.
“You know, I don’t even know anymore,” she replied. “He’s done so many things that I never believed him capable of doing … I’m just afraid all the time.”
It was at her lowest point that a mutual friend introduced her to Perrette.
“We — spoke on the phone a few times and we both just had this kind of, ‘Oh, my God, that happened to me too,'” said Katherine.
Perrette introduced Katherine to another stalking victim – casting director and web celebrity Lenora Claire. She says she is stalked by a diagnosed schizophrenic she only met one time — at an art opening.
His name is Justin Massler, and from his emails, he appears to be obsessed with over 100 people. In 2011, he was arrested for violating a restraining order protecting Ivanka Trump.
“If a restraining order didn’t work for Ivanka Trump it wasn’t like it was gonna work for me, either,” Claire said.
“I shouldn’t be fearful anytime I get a knock at my door, but I am, and with good reason,” she said.
“He’s telling me he’s coming for me,” Claire continued. “It’s just — will he find me?”
Last fall, Perrette learned of a fourth woman who had also been suffering in silence and invited her to her home. It was Peggy.
“Pauley’s helped me more in a week than anybody’s helped me in three years,” said Peggy.
A sisterhood was born.
“When we first started talking about our cases together, it was– incredibly—cathartic,” Perrette explained. “But it — was also very frightening. ‘Cause we hadn’t done it before, you know. Now we’re … really rely on each other a lot, just in the day to day.”
“All of a sudden I had, you know, comrades in arms,” Katherine said. “You know, you didn’t have to explain yourself … they got it.”
And they get what needs to change. Among the things they’re calling for: a national stalking registry, more police training and awareness, tougher sentences, and updated laws against internet stalking .
“The people that we thought would protect us don’t have the tools to do so,” Perrette explained. “The judicial system does not have the tools to prosecute.”
Sadly, say the women, help sometimes comes too late.
“Nobody’s paying attention to where these crimes are going until somebody gets murdered,” said Claire.
These women are determined to take this crime out of the shadows — despite the potential risk.
“Are you concerned at all about talking to me? That you could anger him?” Moriarty asked Peggy.
“I think that it doesn’t matter what I do. I think that he’s gonna do what he’s gonna do no matter what I do,” she replied.
“I kept everything very small and very quiet. And it didn’t protect me. It didn’t serve me in any way. And maybe if I’d spoken up sooner, it wouldn’t have gotten this far,” Katherine told Moriarty.
Perrette says a police officer once told her that “we’re trying to solve homicides.” These women want to prevent them.
“Our little support group that we have here…it’s a very smart group of women …and good people,” Perrette said. “And it happened to us. It could happen to anyone.”
“The four of us together just began relying on each other so much. We talk every single day,” said Pauley Perrette.
While the women in Perrette’s sisterhood have now found support in each other, they still can’t escape the fear from their past.
“He destroyed everything,” said Peggy.
As an attorney, law professor, and mother of a young son, Peggy never imagined her once happy life would turn into a nightmare. It all started after her divorce when she thought she found someone interesting to date.
“We had a good time,” Peggy said. “I think we dated for maybe about five months.”
Peggy says he broke things off in 2013. She moved on, but several months later, Peggy says she received threatening emails from him. The most damning: a death threat that still gives her nightmares.
“That he is going to come up behind me when I least expect it and shoot me in the head,” she said.
Before that, he had showed up uninvited to where Peggy was living at the time.
“I hear someone coming in the house. And he’s standing in my living room,” Peggy said. “And he starts yelling at me.”
He left after his rant, but a scared Peggy got a restraining order. Still, it didn’t stop his reign of terror. Peggy says he branded the word “whore” on her lawn,
“It was so horrific to have to explain to my neighbors. …And then I tried to put some green paint on it and it made it stick out more,” she explained in tears.
He also left menacing voicemail messages:
“You are an evil, evil , f—ing person – this isn’t over.
I am going to dedicate my whole f—ing life to wrecking yours.”
And when she thought things couldn’t get any worse—they did. Peggy says she saw her stalker run from her home, just as she heard a loud crash.
“He had thrown two cans of red house paint directly … through the windows with such force,” she said. “There was glass everywhere. There was paint all — red paint all over my son’s toys.”
She contacted the police again —thinking this time, it would lead to an arrest.
“And he said, ‘You know what, I don’t believe you.’ And I– I said, ‘You– what don’t you believe? Do you not believe that he threw paint through my– that he did this? You think I did this myself?’ … And I said, ‘You are mandated by law to write this up as a violation of my restraining order and to pick him up,'” Peggy said. “They did nothing. They– they gave me a report and they left the house.”
“What is going on there?” Moriarty asked.
“Unless you are physically harmed, you know, they wait,” Peggy replied, “and they reinforced this feeling that no one was gonna help me.”
That was until her stalker started vandalizing other women’s property, as well. Now, with multiple victims, LAPD’s Specialized Threat Management Unit got involved.
“They were astounded at what had happened. That nobody had done anything,” said Peggy.
After three months of Peggy living in fear, LAPD had enough to make a case. Her stalker was finally arrested. He was sentenced to five years in prison, but served just two. He was released on parole in January. Peggy has moved since then and has a permanent restraining order. Her stalker has not recently been in contact with her, but, she says, the terror is still there.
“You’re always looking over your shoulder. You never know what is going to happen to you,” Peggy said.
In an email to “48 Hours” regarding Peggy’s complaints, LAPD officials said, “treating every resident with respect, especially when reporting a crime … is our core value.” They went on to state that they are “continuing to review the details surrounding this incident…”
“I don’t know if any sort of television show or film could possibly in — capture the day-to-day of being a stalking victim. There’s no release from it,” Perrette said. “All a stalking victim wants is to be left alone. And all a stalker wants is to insert themselves into your life.”
That trapped feeling is shared by all the women in Perrette’s group.
“Constant state of fear, panic,” said Katherine.
Katherine’s ex-boyfriend, Jeffrey Gouda, stalked her for more than a year. Before that, they lived together for three years, until a bad fight in 2015.
“He just– he got furious with me. And I just got the hell out of there as fast as I could,” Katherine explained. “And that’s when I was like, I’m out of here, ‘I– this– he needs to be out of my life.'”
“And how did he accept that breakup?” Moriarty asked.
“He never accepted that breakup,” said Katherine.
Like Peggy, Katherine got a restraining order and found it of little use. The order required her stalker to stay 100 yards away from her, but he found a way around that.
“He would actually park his car at 105 yards and camp out,” said Katherine.
“He was sleeping in his car. He was living out of his car at the end of my street,” she continued.
“For how long?” Moriarty asked.
“That went on for … least a good four to six weeks maybe,” said Katherine.
After that, he would somehow find her — no matter where in Los Angeles Katherine was — from art exhibits to restaurants.
“I look out the window and all of a sudden I see his car. And– his car is, like, circling the restaurant,” she said.
“Based on all the times she said she had been runnin’ into him, it was just too coincidental,” said Det. Eric Reade.
Then, LAPD’s Threat Management Unit took over. While Supervisor Det. Eric Reade worked the case with his team, Katherine tried to make sense of it all.
“It’s one thing when he’s in my neighborhood. But now it’s been Chinatown and downtown and Studio City. Like, how is– there has to be something on my car,” she said.
And there was. Katherine discovered a GPS tracking device inside the bumper of her car and detectives found another in the trunk.
“The tracker was underneath … in between the metal and carpet,” Katherine showed “48 Hours” as she the area of the trunk where the device was found. “That meant that he was breaking and entering into my car.”
“How scary is that?” Moriarty asked.
“That was terrifying,” Katherine replied.
“Why was he doing this?”
“I think it’s motivated by– there’s this part of him that can’t let go, that just can’t let go,” said Katherine.
LAPD arrested Gouda and charged him with, among other things, felony stalking.
“It was because the pattern of behavior,” Det. Reade explained. “That she was in sustained fear, for one. Secondly, he was — willfully, mercilessly, harassing her all the time. And the fact that he was placing devices on her car to know where she was at all times.”
With Wendy Segall prosecuting the case, Gouda was sentenced to five years of probation, and Katherine was issued a 10-year criminal order of protection.
“So has it ended the problem?” Moriarty asked Katherine.
“No. …Even when I know there’s absolutely no way that he can be anywhere near me, I’m still looking at every single car that follows me for more than 30 seconds,” she replied. “So I’m just afraid all the time.”
Afraid, like other victims of stalking, of what the future holds.
LIVING A NIGHTMARE
It has been15 months since friends and fans across the country lost singing sensation Christina Grimmie – a rising star shot dead by a stalker after finishing a concert in Orlando.
Tyler Ward not only lost a friend and fellow musician, he lost a church buddy.
“What do you miss about Christina?” Erin Moriarty asked.
“I just miss the fact that I had a — partner in faith doing the same thing,” Ward replied in tears, “someone I could look over and say, ‘she’s doing it right. She’s not in it for the wrong reasons’ — it’s hard.”
Ward was so numb after hearing Christina was shot dead by her stalker he couldn’t cry. The ugly truth hit him the next day at a recording session.
“I went outside. And I sat down. And I just — it just — I just started crying. I couldn’t stop it,” he explained. “And so I just started writing. And this — these lyrics came out. ‘I’ll tell you a story about a girl I once knew. She grew up in Jersey…’ So I went home. And I just put these lyrics to a song.
He recorded it that day. It’s called “A Song for Christina.”
“And I haven’t played it since,” said Ward.
“Is it still hard to believe that she’s gone?” Moriarty asked Christina’s friend, Bria Kelly.
“Yeah. Yeah. Every day. I think about her every day. And it doesn’t get any easier. And it won’t get any easier for quite a long time,” she said.
Kelly remembers a lot of things about her best friend and fellow contestant from “The Voice,” including Christina’s knockout performance and charming YouTube videos. But mostly, she remembers the little moments they shared together.
“I miss her being a phone call or a text away. …Every moment now is just, like, so, like, precious to me. That we had together,” said Kelly, wiping away a tear.
She still can’t believe it was a fan who did this to Christina.
“That’s the part that like hurt the most,” she told Moriarty. “She would make the effort to meet her fans, to meet the people who … believed in her from the very beginning. And I never thought that that would be the place where, you know, something some so tragic and terrible could happen.”
Christina Grimmie’s murder is a cold reminder that stalking is a deadly problem, says actress Pauley Perrette, star of the CBS show “NCIS.”
“People are getting killed and hurt. And everything leading up to that feels like a death every single day anyways, when you’re a victim,” she told Moriarty.
Perrette knows that terror all too well. Though her tormentor has never explicitly threatened her life, she lives in fear that his harassment will escalate.
“The nightmare is … you don’t know what the end game is. Are you gonna just be harassed for the rest of your life? Is the door gonna open five minutes from now, and that’s the end of your life?” she said. “Everything in life is terrifying when you’re a stalking victim.”
Perrette doesn’t want to mention the name of the man she says stalks her or go into detail, but says he has cast a dark shadow over every aspect of her life.
“Every day I’m afraid to check my email. Every day I’m afraid to look on the internet. Everyday I’m afraid to leave my house,” she explained. “…so many of us victims, we become recluses, we get afraid of everything … the fear… gets bigger and bigger and bigger …And your world gets smaller and smaller and smaller.”
With an estimated 7.5 million Americans stalked each year — and that’s only the reported cases — the time has come, says Perrette, to fight back.
“I’ve never spoken publicly about — my situation,” she said. “…speaking about it … I am afraid will put me in danger, but I’m already in danger … we need to get these laws changed, try to help other people.”
Perrette is leading the charge, working with California Congressman Adam Schiff to raise public awareness and create new laws to make it easier to arrest and prosecute stalkers.
“Stalking laws do not work right now. They have not been updated in 20 years. In that 20 years, so much has happened — mainly the internet,” she explained. “Stalkers, that’s their greatest tool. They can use the internet to stalk their victims.”
While most victims are stalked by former lovers, some become targets simply by crossing paths with an obsessive, mentally unstable person. This is the case with Lenora Claire. She has been stalked for over five years by a man she met only once.
“For me, being stalked is similar to having your head held under water. You can’t breathe. …You can’t scream ’cause no one’s gonna hear you,” she said with a sigh. “And you’re just – you’re just waiting for it to be over.”
The man Claire says is drowning her is 34-year-old Justin Massler, a diagnosed schizophrenic who legally changed his name to Cloud Starchaser. He keeps a list of over 100 possible targets, including business tycoons like Jacob Rothchild and Rupert Murdoch. He also obsesses over celebrities like Ivanka Trump, and lesser-known people, like Claire.
“Every facet of my life is influenced by this person,” said Claire.
It all started in 2011, with an L.A. weekly article featuring an art show Claire was curating. The idea was to photograph the most interesting guests and hang their pictures in the exhibit.
“All kinds of people came. Like, literally, it was fabulous. It was a really diverse group,” said Claire.
Into this studio walked Justin Massler, in an outfit sure to earn him a spot on the gallery wall: a space suit.
“He came to the gallery wearing a spacesuit?” Moriarty asked.
“That’s correct,” she replied. “At first I just thought it was just sort of like a funny character. I didn’t really think anything of it.”
But then, his tone changed.
“He told me, like, looking very intensely into my eyes, ‘Oh, you look like Jessica Rabbit and Leeloo from “The Fifth Element.” I think you’re a supreme being … And I’m gonna stalk you,'” Claire said. “And … it just began this odyssey of almost six years of stalking and harassment by him.”
Claire says Justin Massler — who sometimes thinks he’s Jesus Christ, Harry Potter or various superheroes – has bombarded her with ranting emails, texts and videos. Some so violent, she says, he has turned her life into a reality horror show.
“I live in a constant fear that Justin Massler could rape me, kidnap me, kill me, gas me, go after my friends, go after my family,” she explained. “He’s threatened my boss .He said that he would kill him if I continued to work there. Even something as simple as having a job, he’s trying to take away from me.”
After that threat, Claire says she finally went to the LAPD, a stack of emails in hand.
“I … thought, ‘OK, I have all this evidence they’re gonna take me seriously.’ And that couldn’t be further from the truth. They were dismissive. They made fun of me. They suggested that I alter my appearance,” she said.
“They wanted you to alter your appearance?” Moriarty asked.
“Yeah. They just said, ‘Well, you know, if you toned it down, maybe he would leave you alone.”
Perrette says there’s a name for that. It’s called victim shaming.
“Victim shaming of stalking victims is something that, along with everything else that we have to deal with … People will say, ‘Well, you shouldn’t have worn that. You shouldn’t have dated them. You shouldn’t have been there’ … all kind of things,” she told Moriarty. “But the truth is that we’re not the criminals here.”
“I’m sorry. I refuse to believe that my hair color or my build or my dress, the way I carry myself, in any way that — that I should be victimized in this manner,” Claire told Moriarty.
Despite her many appeals for help, Claire says it took years before they took her warnings seriously.
“Let’s be honest. I think the police probably look and say, ‘Look, Justin Massler has been stalking a number of people for a number of years. … He’s never hurt anyone yet,'” said Moriarty.
“Yet,” Claire pointed out. “I’m telling you, I think he’s very dangerous. I mean, how many death threats do we need to get before it’s taken seriously?”
While Massler has not shown up in person to visit Claire, he has travelled to visit other targets. To Lenora, it’s just a matter of time.
“It’s just will he find me?” she told Moriarty.
Ivanka Trump, beautiful, rich, and very, very powerful, has something in common with Lenora Claire — she’s been stalked by Justin Massler.
It was a huge story in 2010, when Massler targeted Trump with a barrage of ominous emails and tweets, using a profile picture that appeared to show him covered in blood and threatening to “commandeer” her then-fiancé Jared Kushner’s newspaper, and to kill himself at Ivanka’s jewelry store.
“His mom told me that he was a very eccentric individual. Highly, highly intelligent, but he had some mental disorders,” said attorney George Vomvolakis.
Vomvolakis represented Massler when he was arrested and charged with stalking Ivanka Trump. She was granted an order of protection from him.
“To this day I don’t know if he ever really grasped how his conduct could affect her,” he said.
Massler violated the restraining order and his charges escalated from misdemeanor to felony. He missed two court dates, was caught in California, and brought back to New York. He spent nine months in a psychiatric hospital, then pleaded guilty to stalking Trump and was sentenced to time served.
“Why Ivanka Trump, though?” Moriarty asked Vomvolakis.
“Fame and beauty,” he replied. “Someone who was hungry for attention is going to latch on to someone who already has that attention and figures that he can get it from her.”
Ivanka Trump is hardly alone. Many celebrities find themselves plagued by persistent stalkers.
“When we started studying celebrity cases in particular, they were often the longest ones because they’re driven by delusions and mental illness,” said Psychologist Kris Mohandie, the former head of the LAPD’s Behavioral Science Unit.
Gwyneth Paltrow has been one of the hardest hit. In 1999, Dante Soiu started bombarding her with pornography, sex toys and bizarre letters saying he wanted to take “God’s scalpel” and cut out her sin. Soiu traveled from Ohio to L.A. looking for Paltrow at her mother, Blythe Danner’s house, twice before he was finally arrested. Experts say the fact that he traveled to see her greatly escalates the risk.
“The person is in the physical presence of their potential victim. And that’s what you need in order for there to be violence,” said Mohandie.
In 2000, Soiu was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and spent five years in a psychiatric hospital. But four years after his release, he started up again, sending Paltrow 66 letters –– in care of her attorneys — about God and his love for her. In 2015 Soiu was arrested again, and in 2016, stood trial in L.A. for stalking.
“What did scare her about the letters?” Moriarty asked Deputy D.A. Wendy Segall.
“The obsession — the obsession for over 17 years — that he was never going to leave her alone,” she replied.
Lynda Westlund defended Soiu, whom she describes as “a gentle person” and a “very religious man.”
She says her client only sent those letters because he was trying to make amends.
“But Lynda, you wanna make amends to someone, you could send one letter, maybe two letters. More than 60 letters? That’s not making amends. That’s harassing somebody,” Moriarty reasoned.
“Possibly. It’s possibly harassing somebody,” said Westlund.
“But you’re saying it’s not stalking, because he didn’t directly threaten her,” said Moriarty.
“No, I’m saying it’s not stalking because he didn’t have any malicious intent,” Westlund replied.
Soiu spoke to “48 Hours” about the case.
“I’m not a dangerous type of guy,” he said.
“And what about the charges against you? Are you a stalker?” a “48 Hours” producer asked Soiu.
“No, I’m not a stalker. I’m not a stalker,” he replied with a laugh.
The jury agreed, finding him not guilty of stalking Paltrow in 2016. It came down to one critical clause in the law: intent to cause fear. The jury did not believe that Soiu intended to cause Paltrow any fear.
“You have a right to free speech in this country. You have a right to contact people, you have a right to pros—proselytize, you can bombard people with letters all you want,” Westlund said. “…it’s a very strongly-protected right.”
But when does free speech cross the line and become stalking?
“It’s not black and white. And that’s one of the problems with the stalking laws, are — it’s very gray. How many phone calls? How many emails? How many tweets does it take?” said Vomvolakis.
“Could you imagine what would happen to the justice system if every — if everybody thought, you know, ‘Well, I feel scared, I think that person’s committing a crime?’ And the Gestapo come on and cart him away? That’s not how this country works,” said Westlund.
Strengthening the laws, as advocates want, could conflict with protected freedoms, but Pauley Perrette says victims’ rights need to be considered too.
“I always think, you know, life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. It’s like, I don’t have any of that,” she said. “This affects my life every single day.”
Lenora Claire says she is also a prisoner — living in fear of Justin Massler and the knock on her front door.
“Today can be the day, tomorrow can be the day, two years from now can be the day,” she said.
ON THE TRAIL OF A STALKER
Finding the real Justin Massler is like chasing a ghost … an apparition who moves in and out of the real world — travelling from state to state. “48 Hours” didn’t know where he gets money or how he lives, but there is one thing we did know. Wherever he goes he leaves a trail of frightened targets in his wake.
In a phone call in May 2016, a police detective warned Massler to stay away from one of his targets, a former schoolmate who lives in San Francisco:
Detective: Are you aware of a temporary restraining order?
Massler: Uh, yeah.
Detective: She wants you to leave her alone.
Within minutes during that call, Massler went from normal: “That’s fine, I won’t talk to her anymore.”
To delusional: “You’re not gonna spread lies about me. She’s not afraid of me. I’m Superman”
To angry: You understand that officer? You don’t f—ing lie about me! Jesus Christ!
And finally, to bizarre: “I’m the leader of 108-person royal family. You are going to war with the Antichrist.”
Massler YouTube video: Hey Lenora, it’s Cloud StarChaser. Listen, I saw you … I explained to them that you actually do want to talk to me, it’s just like — Jacob Rothschild’s people are threatening you.
Asked if she thinks her life is at risk, Claire told Moriarty, “Absolutely. I think my life is at risk. I know it is.”
Every morning in L.A., Claire says checks her computer to see where he is.
“It’s the ticking time bomb. It’s hanging over my head every day,” she said.
Claire says any day he’s not in California is a good day. This was not a good day.
“Right now, we’re looking at a video Justin sent me from the Santa Monica youth Justin Massler was Massler was arrested for stalking Ivanka Trump in 2010. Massler jumped bail and was found in California by bounty hunters and investigators from the Manhattan D.A.’s office in 2011. Massler pleaded guilty to stalking Trump in February 2012 after nine months in a psychiatric hospital,” she said.
Massler video from youth hostel: Now a lot of people are asking me, since you’re Jesus Christ what’s the cause of the problems in the world? And it can all be blamed on Taylor Swift. …Because the popular girls, led by Taylor Swift, are not acknowledging me.
“You know, is today the day? Is today the day that he actually does what he keeps telling me … that he’s gonna do?” Claire said. “I was afraid to leave my apartment.”
With Justin Massler apparently staying just 13 miles away, Claire alerted the LAPD but got no response until days later.
Massler had clearly been traveling throughout Los Angeles. We know that he posted videos from Universal Studios.
This man just wouldn’t stop and no one seemed about to catch him. So “48 Hours” set out to find the stalker.
Everywhere we looked, Justin Massler managed to stay one step ahead, until finally, with a little help from technology, we were was able to track him down through his various email and set up a FaceTime interview with Moriarty on his phone.
He answered the phone 9:00 a.m. sharp, just as planned:
Moriarty: It works!
Massler: How ya doing.
Moriarty: I’m really good how are you.
Massler: Oh, I’m very good. Thanks.
Moriarty: Can you see me here?
Massler: Yeah, I can see you. It’s like you’re in a movie studio.
Moriarty: What do I call you, Justin?
Massler: Oh, just Justin, that’s just like my normal name.
Moriarty: And where are you right now?
Massler: I’m just in Salt Lake City.
Justin Massler had left L.A. in search, he said, of his friend, Wonder Woman—clearly another target. Moriarty asked where he was staying:
Massler: I just got stuck broke again. So I’m staying at a shelter right now.
Moriarty: I mean, how did you get here?
Massler: Well, I just took a bus. I get like 600 a month on like SSI.
Moriarty: You mean Social Security Disability is what you get?
Massler: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Or like my mom was helpin’ me out before.
Moriarty: Are you taking medication, Justin?
Massler: No, see, the thing is, I’m not schizophrenic, because I’m actually Jesus Christ.
Moriarty: Justin you weren’t always like this. What was your life like when you were growing up?
Massler: When I was growing up. No, I’ve always been like this. I don’t really change. I’ve been the same…
Moriarty asked him about his past — before schizophrenia:
Moriarty: Where did you grow up?
Massler: I grew up in Jersey and then I went to Phillips Exeter Academy for high school.
He had gone to Exeter – one of the most exclusive prep schools in the country — a breeding ground for future leaders. And now here he is living a life of isolation, a prisoner of his own delusions.
Moriarty: Justin isn’t this really lonely for you … this has to be a very —
Massler: No, no, because my species is not dependent on social interaction.
Moriarty says she had to ask him about stalking:
Moriarty: — you know, you — I mean there are some people who are a little scared of you. I mean do — do people have reason to be afraid of you?
Massler: Like, the only– the only people who would have reason to be afraid of me are, like, bad people.
She then asked Massler specifically about Lenora Claire:
Moriarty: [Does] Lenora have reason to be afraid of you?
Massler: No, she’s on our main team now … I’m not threatening her. I’m– I (UNINTEL) never attack Lenora Claire or, like, harm her in any way, but at the same time you can’t have, like, women like that f—ing up our social matrix.
And when asked if he would stop sending emails to Lenora and the others he stalks:
Moriarty: Why don’t you stop sending e-mails? Why don’t you stop?
Massler: I’m Jesus Christ, people want to know who I am.
That question led to an explosion of anger:
Massler [yelling]: I will not stop sending them because those restraining orders are illegal. And I will continue to defy this government’s orders. And if they go against me, I will use the power of God to f—ing destroy anyone who opposes me.
This is just a small portion of the 34-minute conversation. At this point, Massler seemed to lose control and threatened violence. Police records reveal that Justin once assaulted a police officer, but it doesn’t appear that he has ever physically harmed one of his targets.
Massler [raised voice]: You will not stop me from sending messages. I will destroy you.
Moriarty: Justin — Justin calm down. Are you OK?
Their connection is lost. Moriarty, worried, called Massler back. I gotta see if he’s OK,” she said.
Moriarty: Are you OK? You’ve got to calm down.
Massler [yelling]: I will not stop sending messages, and if you try to stop me, I will destroy any government that oppose our freedom.
Massler: I wasn’t yelling at you by the way. I was just letting the people that think they can control me… I’m not angry at you. You’re fine… But yeah, no, Lenora and Ivanka are a part of my team. Lenora does not want me to stop contacting her.
Moriarty: Justin, hold on. Alright, so you just said to me that Lenora is fine with you sending her e-mails and posts. Will you believe me when I tell you she doesn’t want you to send anymore e-mails or posts?
Massler: No you’re wrong. I know that Lenora does not mind me sending anything because she’s a part of my team.
As the call was finishing, Massler seemed to go back inside himself:
Massler: …because I’m Batman. I’m Batman.
Moriarty: Alright, so take care.
Massler: OK, have a nice day.
Moriarty: So stay in touch with me and take care, OK? Are you OK? I just lost him.
UNDERSTANDING MASSLER’S MIND
Erin Moriarty’s talk with Justin Massler on FaceTime was sad, but also, very frightening.
Massler to Moriarty: If they go against me I will use the power of god to f—-ing destroy anyone who opposes me.
He had made explicit death threats to public figures — threats “48 Hours” decided not to air. Because of the threats, we contacted Psychologist Kris Mohandie.
Massler: I will destroy you….
“What’s your reaction of seeing this?” Moriarty asked Mohandie after watching the video of the FaceTime chat.
“I’m more than concerned about this, Erin. I think that what he’s talking about is a very violent mental life,” he replied. “He identifies with the role of vigilante. He does not believe that the rules apply to him.”
“You think just from seeing this that the threat is that real?” Moriarty asked.
“I believe from just seeing this that the threat is that real,” Mohandie replied. “He needs to be dealt with. And soon.”
Mohandie urged “48 Hours” to share the video with Detective Reade of the LAPD’s Threat Management Unit.
Massler: It’s up to people to be real life superheroes and take the law into their own hands.
Massler: I will not stop sending emails to Lenora Claire
“It’s very clear that there appears to be a mental health component,” Det. Reade said. “He seems to be very violent in nature.”
Reade, too, was worried that Massler might do something violent. But Justin’s mother, Randee Massler, disagrees.
“I don’t think my son is a physical danger to anybody,” she told Moriarty.
Randee Massler understands how scary that FaceTime video appears, but says that the outburst was more of a release for Justin than a real threat.
“I’m sure that as soon as he was done with that rant he was back to however he had been before. It’s a release,” she said.
Massler: Erin, I’m not yelling at you. It’s the people who think they can control me. I’m not angry at you. You’re fine.
“This is a disease. His brain is not functioning,” Randee continued. “You — you can’t expect rational thoughts from an irrational mind. And people do.”
Justin’s mother says it wasn’t always this way. The Justin of today is not the boy she raised in their upscale New Jersey house.
“What comes to mind when you think about Justin’s childhood here?” Moriarty asked Randee.
“Happy,” she replied.
“You had all the hopes for him?” Moriarty asked. “Like every parent?”
“Yes,” Randee said. “But mine were justified at the time because he really was that smart.”
Randee Massler describes her son, socially, as quirky. He would sometimes act out. The student once groomed for the Ivy League, who achieved a nearly perfect score on his SATs, but then became a high school dropout. Next was a stint in the Navy. Randee thought the military could be just what Justin needed. It wasn’t.
“We got a call that he had a psychotic break, and he was going to kill himself,” said Randee.
Justin was hospitalized — and in and out of psychiatric wards for much of his 20s. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, his mother helplessly watched the son she loved withdraw further.
“What’s it like for you emotionally, to be going through the ups and downs with Justin?” Moriarty asked Randee.
“It’s been so long that if I allowed myself to fall apart every time he got in trouble, I mean, I just — I wouldn’t be here. It’s — you get used to it, I guess,” she replied “Justin has just suffered, suffered, suffered … the child that I raised is gone. …that child is gone.”
Randee still wants to help Justin and sometimes gives him money.
“Wouldn’t it be better you don’t give him money? If he didn’t have money so he couldn’t travel the way he does?” Moriarty asked. “I mean, aren’t you in some ways enabling what he does?”
“Maybe. I never thought about it that way,” Randee replied. “I thought I was helping him to live a little bit. But I didn’t know that he was traveling the country scaring women.”
Randee says she didn’t know about Lenora Claire. She feels her son is desperate to connect with people — even if it is just over a computer.
Massler: I use computers everywhere. The — it’s — it’s really easy to get wireless or — computer access these days …
“Do you think Justin is lonely?” Moriarty asked.
“Oh yes,” Randee replied. “He — tries reaching out to — to anybody.”
Massler: Emails are not– are– are not hurting anyone.
“Do you think he’s contacting these women to scare them or to have contact with them?” Moriarty asked.
“I think he’s contacting these women to have contact with them. But when they aren’t interested he gets mad,” said Randee.
Massler: …that’s not a joke — you will not stop me…
“He’s a very unstable person. And his instability can rapidly turn violent,” said Lenora Claire.
“Most people who have serious mental illness will not be dangerous to others, and that’s an important point,” Psychologist Kris Mohandie explained. “So, you’re looking at the unique variables in a particular case that may relate to increased violence risk. … From what I’ve seen of Justin Massler … he has had violent ideas. He’s pursued many other victims. He is not dissuaded by restraining orders. …And all of those are concerning risk factors.”
With those concerns, a search for Justin Massler was now underway. In the FaceTime interview, Justin had told Moriarty he was in Salt Lake City, so Detective Reade got in touch with the local police.
“They actually located Mr. Massler,” Det. Reade said. “They determined at that time that he needed to be evaluated for a mental evaluation.”
Justin was involuntarily committed to a Utah psychiatric hospital. Typically, this is allowed by law when authorities feel a mentally ill person is a threat to himself or others.
Massler: I don’t have a lot of respect for fear.
After about two months, Justin Massler agreed to go to another facility in Nevada, near his mother.
“So when I got the call that he was detained in Utah, I was so excited,” Lenora Claire said. “I got to live what I call a normal life … and it was glorious — it was so nice.”
But, shortly after arriving at the Nevada facility, he disappeared. With Justin Massler on the move and now missing, Claire was shaken.
“I was just frozen with fear. And I went inside. And I locked my door,” she said. “Anything’s possible with this man.”
A MISSION FOR JUSTICE
Justin Massler had disappeared many times before, but this time was different. He was on law enforcement’s radar now because the woman he admitted stalking in 2011, was no longer just a private citizen — she was the daughter of the President-elect of the United States.
With Justin missing in action, the Secret Service paid his mother in Nevada a visit. It wasn’t the first time she says law enforcement came calling.
“I just try to cooperate and do what I can,” Randee Massler told Moriarty.
Randee gave them the phone number of her other son, who led them clear across the country to the missing Justin Massler.
Justin had flown to New York to see his brother, Jeremy, who booked him into a hotel just two-and-a-half blocks from Trump Tower — a mere coincidence his mom says. When the Secret Service arrived, they found Justin in his hotel room immersed in playing video games.
“Jeremy said the Secret Service agent said to him, ‘We don’t feel he’s any danger to the Trumps or anybody right now. But he’s a little off,'” said Randee.
Justin agreed to go to Bellevue Hospital where he was voluntarily admitted, Randee told “48 Hours.”
“How are you feeling about this?” Moriarty asked.
Randee sighed, and then said, “I like it when he’s in a hospital for selfish reasons, because I know he’s — I know he’s safe, and I know he’s getting care.”
Justin, not seen as a threat at that time, was released from Bellevue shortly after. The question was, where would he go from there? Committing mentally ill patients against their will for more than 72 hours is extremely difficult – often requiring a legal hearing.
“What we need are better resources for those mentally ill people that are in our communities so they can get an adequate level of care and not be allowed to get too far out there with their ideas,” said Mohandie.
Lenora Claire, whose father was a psychiatrist, understands that Justin’s behavior is a result of mental illness.
“If I could send a message to Justin, I’d want him to know that I do know that he’s a person, you know, and that I do believe that people who are mentally unwell can get help,” she said. “…but what he’s done to me and others is — it’s really — it is just absolutely awful.”
Even Randee admits she can’t say for sure what her son might do.
“I can’t come up here and say, ‘Oh, these women are all crazy and he wouldn’t hurt them.’ ‘Cause I don’t think he would, but he might. I don’t know what’s in his head,” she said.
When Justin was released from the hospital, he moved near his mother, Randee, in Nevada where she said he was getting medication on an outpatient basis.
Perrette doesn’t think she’ll ever get relief.
“I don’t see my stalker ever leaving me alone,” she said. “It’s been too long … I — I don’t think he’ll ever leave me alone. I think I’ll have to live like this for the rest of my life.”
But she vows to continue fighting, determined to change the way we police, prosecute, and even define the crime of stalking.
“Many stalking victims are sued by their stalker, frivolous lawsuits over and over and over again, simply for the fact that they want to be able to see them,” she explained.
Perrette and the others also want ankle monitors for stalkers with restraining orders, a national stalking registry and stronger internet stalking laws.
“Part of their agenda is gonna be to try to destroy you,” Perrette warned. “Not only through the fear, but using the internet, destroy your reputation, get your fired from your job, break up your relationships.”
Perrette is now working closely with the Hollywood Police Department and wants other departments to also recognize the problem.
“This is happening. There are people out there who are obsessed. And they will not stop. It’s real. Stalking is very real,” she stressed.
Kris Monhadie says, if you think you are being stalked, you should avoid all contact, enhance security and inform key people in your life. It is a crime and should be treated that way.
“Ignoring a stalker can be dangerous,” he cautioned. “…document voicemails, letters, cards. Take photographs of things that are damaged and quickly get that information to law enforcement so that they can begin to intervene in the process. Early intervention is key.”
When Christina Grimmie took the stage that night in Orlando, no one ever dreamed a law could be part of her legacy. But that is what her friend, Bria Kelly, is fighting for.
She’s proposing Christina’s Law. She wants to see metal detectors and armed security to protect performers at smaller venues like Plaza Live.
“It didn’t have to happen at all. And it’s infuriating,” Kelly said. “They might still try to harm a performer in some way, but at least it wouldn’t be with a bullet.”
Just imagine if that law had been in place. Christina’s stalker might never have gotten through the door with a gun and the young woman with so much promise, so much life in front of her would be still be here to live it.
Christina Grimmie’s single, “Invisible,” was released by her family, ZXL Music and Republic Records. Proceeds endow a memorial fund in her name.
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