Monday, December 11

A Look at Celebrity Stalkers

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Celebrity stalking is not uncommon. Fans sense a special connection with their favorite entertainer and go to great lengths to be with them. Regrettably countless celebrities have to suffer at the hands of a disturbed person that won’t leave them alone. The majority of stalkers consider their conduct to be harmless and believe their victims feel flattered. But there is no flattery when a person is pursued in a threatening way. Stars such as Anna Kournikova, Conan O’Brien, George Harrison, Rebecca Schaeffer, and John Lennon had to endure advances from an off balanced fan and for 2 of them their lives were taken because of an obsession. Here is an overview of the mentioned celebrities and their stalkers. Anna Kournikova and William Lepeska: William Lepeska claimed tennis star Anna Kournikova was sending him signals that led him to believe they would be together one day.

Lepeska sent sexually explicit letters to Kournikova and on January 30, 2005 swam across the Biscayne Bay to be with her. Instead of reaching Anna’s residence Lepeska was found nude at a nearby neighbor’s home. In April 2005 William Lepeska was ordered to stay 1,000 feet away from Kournikova and spent six months in a restricted mental facility in Florida where he was treated for mental illness. Conan O’Brien and Rev. David Ajemian: In November of 2007 Rev. David Ajemian was charged with stalking talk show host Conan O’Brien. Letters and DVDs were sent to O’Brien’s home, the NBC Studios, and to O’Brien’s parents. In one of the letters Ajemian referred to himself as one of O’Brien’s “most dangerous fans.” In April of 2008 the Reverend was ordered to stay away from Conan O’Brien for 2 years. George Harrison and Cristin Keleher: In December 1999 Cristin Keleher broke into the Maui home of rock star George Harrison. While Keleher was in the home she cooked a frozen pizza and told police that she “just had the munchies.” Cristin Keleher had been stalking former Beatle Harrison for years prior to 1999 and was sentenced to 4 months in jail.

Rebecca Schaeffer and Robert John Bardo: Actress Rebecca Schaeffer was in her California home in July of 1989 when long time fan Robert John Bardo shot her in her doorway. Bardo was able to pull Schaeffer’s residence information with the help of a detective agency which obtained it from the California Department of Vehicles. Apparently Bardo was angry that Schaeffer “lost her innocence” by starring in a sex scene in the movie “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills.” Robert John Bardo was convicted in October of 1991 and is serving a life sentence in California without the possibility of parole. John Lennon and Mark David Chapman: On December 8, 1980 Mark David Chapman showed up to the New York City apartment building of rock star John Lennon.

He waited for Lennon to enter and when doing so proceeded to shoot and kill John in front of wife Yoko Ono. Upon arrest Chapman said “I had been going through some problems and was very confused … and was feeling like a big nothing; a nobody. I just saw his (Lennon) face and it seemed like it all came together, the solution to my problem of being confused and feeling like a nobody. Wouldn’t it be something if I killed this individual? I would become famous; I would be something other than a nobody. And that was my reasoning at the time.” Mark David Chapman was sentenced to life and is currently serving his time at Attica State Prison in New York. Some may say that celebrities should expect their fans to be a little off but just because they are in the public eye does not give anyone the right to overstep their bounds and encroach on a celebrity’s personal space.


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