January 2011 –
After 4 ½ years of hell, there was finally a warrant out for stalkers arrest. He was being charged with 3 felony counts of stalking, up to 26 years in prison. I could not believe it and was thrilled! After literally years of fighting, frustration, pushing, basically stalking the people who had the authority to stop my stalker, he was filing going to have to face what he's done.
I got a call from Detective Lorrie – stalker was working at a homeless shelter and saw the warrant and called her to turn himself in. It was really happening!!
He turned himself in, I don’t’ remember how much bail was, but he bailed himself out and awaited a hearing. Trial is set for March. In the meantime, Chris and I continue to keep a very low profile. We didn’t want to do ANYTHING that may hurt the case.
I’m working as an Executive Recruiter at a very conservative national CPA firm, very rarely have to go out in public, and it’s relatively secure. I had already disclosed what was going on, and his picture was kept at the front desk, but with the warrant, who knows what his reaction was going to be. I was acutely aware that retaliation could be coming but hoped with the warrants he would be on good behavior.
After my initial full-day interview with the prosecutors and court clerk along with Detective Lorrie, I felt a huge sense of relief. This REALLY is going to trial. He will be held accountable. Although they kept warning me about how the jury may see things, they may believe him, or feel bad for him, it’s still largely circumstantial, and if there is ANY doubt they could rule in his favor – I never considered that to really be an option. Anyone, who takes the time can see it’s him.
I saw the court clerk in the parking garage after that initial interview… she asked if I carried a firearm. I said “No I don’t right now.” She recommend I start. Validating. I was feeling good. I started looking into the process of how to obtain a concealed carry license and after some research, I decided to start the process of obtaining my license.
With the investigation still ongoing and more and more subpoenas going out, interviews etc.. we still don’t have our carry permits. With all the police reports, PO etc. we didn’t know if we’d pass the background check, and if stalker knew we had them or even applied, we wouldn’t put it past him to shoot himself and say I did it! We took a basic firearm class along with home defense, but didn’t want to chance applying for a permit until the case was closed.
Chris took a new position at his job and is now traveling every week. He’s gone Monday -Thursday most weeks. But at home, I felt secure. I had an alarm system, dogs, shotguns, and a handgun. I continued to stay in my little corner of the world and went nowhere by myself.
I consciously decided the night of all the death threats that I was not going down without a fight. I felt ‘ready’ for him if he showed up at home, so that’s where I spent most of my time.
The March trial is postponed, (turns out his attorney fired him) and rescheduled for November. This was a blessing in disguise. As the evidence from the subpoena’s started coming in, it was mostly circumstantial. The Wi-Fi account he was using came back to his neighbor, he was using his friend the police officer Bobby’s computer as well as L & L’s. Nothing was coming back directly to him.
Detective Lorrie and the Prosecutors are working hard on bring it together and have to balance it with other cases. There was so much evidence, and this big of a Stalking case was new to everyone. I learn afterwards that Detective Lorrie even brought the big box with all the case material with her on her vacations to continue working on it.
I believe it was around April when a plea deal was sent to stalker. It was very light, like 6 month’s probation and no jail time. Of course, I protested, but it was offered. I was thankful when he turned it down. I thought it was way too soft. Stalker is claiming he is innocent and wanted to go in front of a jury. He thought he could charm them into believing him – just has he had so many others. With the overwhelming evidence being most circumstantial, and his remarkable ability to sell lies, I was concerned but totally up for the challenge.
The November trail was again postponed. New trial date is February 2012. There was a 403b hearing scheduled. Turns out in the investigation, they found his ex-wife he stalked before me as well as an ex-girlfriend after me. Their testimonies were heard and they were going to be allowed to testify in front of the jury. I felt bad for both of them. Neither wanted to be there at all. After years of the years of torment, and PO's, his ex-wife had put it behind her, she moved on with life. But was still very clearly affected by what she had gone though. The girl they found after me was young and had some personal issues that he exploited. I’m so thankful to both of them for having the courage to testify. The trial was scheduled to begin on February 12th and set for a 5 day jury trial.
I spent hours upon hours with Detective Lorrie and the Prosecutors over the course of months leading up to the trial. I helped them decipher the phone messages and tie them to him, translate his ‘coded’ messages, so the progression… basically help to show that it couldn’t have been anyone else but stalker.
I also saw for the first time some of the reports he had put on me along with some other things I didn’t know. For example, he turned me in for fraud with the state, and for insurance fraud among other things! Really glad I didn’t know that at the time.
I learned so much about the system and how the prosecutors work. Believe me, it’s not like it is on TV. I had a newfound and growing respect for the Prosecutors and Detective Lorrie.
Finally, it’s the first week of February 2012 – trail in next week!! 5 ½ years since it started - and I can finally see an end.
The week before the trial was spent with the prosecutors and Detective Lorrie. The push was really on now to get all of the evidence in and tied together. I’m so thankful to be able to help, it was incredibly therapeutic and validating. I was ready, we were ready.
Shew, that weekend before the start of the trial was filled with anxiety. The reality of facing him in court was setting in. I was looking forward to it, but terrified at the same time. Terrified of telling the story, facing him, his lies, being cross-examined, and under the judge & jury’s microscope. I also knew that the media had caught wind of the trial and it was the top news story. I mean, this is what we’ve been waiting for – everything is at stake. My/Our entire course of life will be changed after the jury gives their verdict.
Looking back, I wish I would have kept notes on the trial as well. Most of this is from memory. It’s from my perspective, sequestered in the room, I didn’t get to see any of the trial itself.
It’s HERE!!! No sleep that night, my outfit is picked out. I’m ready, let’s do this! We walk into the courthouse. Connie and my parents are waiting along with Detective Lorrie, and the 2 Prosecutors among a crowd of people and media. Jury selection is first. Then we’re on. Deep Breaths
We go upstairs to gather and wait for everyone that needs sequestered that day for the trial. I see his friend the police officer bobby and friend L. They say hi the Friend the Police officer bobby goes in for a hug. I think I froze, I really don’t remember. Anyway, everyone’s there. Jury is picked. Time to roll.
The prosecutors and defense did their opening statements. Not being allowed in the courtroom- I didn’t get to hear. Rumor has it, Prosecutors kicked ass.
We are taken into a small private room with a meeting table where we will spend the next 5 days. There was a window, bathroom and coffee so we were good. No phones, no internet, no TV and We could NOT talk about the case at all. I had my friends and family there along with a few that were clearly not happy to be a part of it. It was tense. Nerve-racking. If you’ve met me, you know that is not at all how I live. I pace when I stress, and prefer to be alone, it was HARD – but here we go!
I’m first on the stand. I look out and see the Detective Lorrie sitting with the prosecutors. Good. I knew that was the plan but was happy to see her. We had spent so much time together working on the case, she became an amazing source of strength. Then I look at the defense table. There he was. Stalker, sitting smugly with a smirk with his public defender. He really believes he’s going to win this.
His parents and sister aren’t there, but a group from the homeless shelter is in support. I had a friend in the gallery, ONE and there were some reporters. No one else I knew was allowed to be there since they would all be called to testify. Pretty much everyone I knew personally over the last 6 years I would eventually be in that sequestered room whether they wanted to or not. Once you have testified and are released (won’t be called back to re-testify) then they could be in the courtroom. Then the Judge. I’ve heard great things about her being fair and reasonable and not taking crap. I hoped with everything I had that she and the jury would see through him and see the truth.
After swearing in, we basically, we started at the beginning and told the same story I’ve told you here. After more than 6 hours on the stand, the first day had been adjourned. Imagine the pressure of being on the stand, in front of the judge and jury, having to remember dates and specifics for 6 years… with no notes. And no timeline. As time passes things start to run together and become blurry. I was afraid if I got thing mixed up, the defense attorney would try to use it against me. It was exhausting to say the least.
Day 2 – I’m first on the stand again. Another 4 hours or so. Also scheduled are the cell phone and computer experts. They found the original images as well as the altered images on the thumb drive he turned in. He thought he had deleted them. Also, to testify is his next-door neighbor who the IP address came back to (he was hacking into his neighbors wi-fi).
On the way home on this day, for whatever reason it hit me hard that he could actually win, I mean, what IF the jury doesn’t believe me, what if since most things didn’t directly come back to him they had doubt. Oh God… Breakdown.
Day 3 & 4 – Connie, Chris, L, Mom and Dad, co-workers, friends and 23 police officers who took reports, Detective Lorrie, his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend, along with a few others. It was a little awkward at first (and crowded) with all the police officers there, but after several games of euchre it became more relaxed. Somewhere towards the end of day 4 the Judge basically asks the prosecution to wrap up even though there was more evidence. His friend the police officer Bobby testified at one point, but I don’t remember if he was testifying for the prosecutors or defense.
Things seem to be looking good for the prosecution. We’re excited it’s almost over, but very aware that desperate people do desperate things. And as the trial is progressing, Stalker maybe getting nervous – and with nothing to loose, who knows what he’ll do – but he’s obviously super narcissistic, and hasn’t testified yet so probably still thinks he’ll win. Who know - either way, we were on alert, especially because on the way out of the parking garage across from the courthouse Chris and I are in the car waiting to backup when a big white van comes behinds us and blocks us in. As people start to get out, we’re like what the hell?! It was the group from the homeless shelter. They wanted to tell us how good he’s been for them, and was sorry for whatever I think he’s done, but he really is a good guy.
Oh my Gosh, get away from me!
Day 5 – Still sequestered. It’s the defenses turn. He testifies and explains it wasn’t him. A magic thumb drive appeared on his porch – which is the thumb drive he turned in – but it wasn’t his. Someone else left it there – it wasn’t him.
Closing arguments. I WISH WISH WISH I would have heard the closing arguments. It’s my one big regrets. We had all decided to stay in our room during closing. I wish I would have heard it. Rumor has it the prosecutors were AWESOME in closing.
The verdict comes back within a couple hours. GUILTY!! He was charged with 3 counts of felony stalking. 2 were for me, 1 was for stalking Chris. He was found guilty of both felony counts for me, but not for Chris. **We asked the jurors when it was all said and done why they didn’t convict on the 3rd. They said that although all the actions and harassment were there, Chris in his testimony was asked if he was afraid of Stalker. Chris replied no, not if it was one on one, but didn’t trust him not to bring a gun to a fist fight. He was more afraid for me then he was for himself. They deemed that Chris is a big strong guy basically so stalker was not guilty of making him fear for his life, even though all the stalking actions were there.
CLICK CLICK – the sweet sound of handcuffs locking. Best thing I’ve heard in a long time!! Stalker was then escorted out of the room. I could breathe. His ex-wife could breath. His ex-girlfriend could breath.
Sentencing was scheduled for a month later. We all turned in victim impact statements and had the opportunity to speak in court at the actual hearing. Both sides get to speak their peace. His parents were there for sentencing but did not speak for him. He had a couple people from the shelter speak on his behalf. We had several statements – the one I remember most was from his girlfriends brother. He said something to the extent of even though he was over here being “good” at the shelter, he was still doing all of this us. The good doesn’t take away from all the bad.
Judge Gull gives her ruling. 10 years. 5 for each felony to be served concurrently. He wouldn’t even be eligible for parole until February 2017. I was THRILLLED! I was going to get my life back! I was going to be able to sleep! She also awarded me restitution of 33K which I figured I’d never see.
The case was over, and I did a couple interviews with the local new stations. I also file a complaint with internal affairs regarding his friend the police officer Bobby. (They found him only guilty if bad decisions – not criminal – he did get a small reprimand but that was it) I realized in preparing for the trial I was speaking for others too – and wanted to shed a light on stalking. It can happen to anyone. Whether I meant to or not – I was becoming a face for Stalking. Detective Lorrie and I also became great friends. We did an episode of “Stalked: Someone’s watching’ on Investigation Discovery. It was the season 4 opener entitled “Twist of Hate’. Even the prosecutors helped with it! That lead to a surprise quick trip to New York City to interview with Katie Couric. One of the questions I got ALL THE TIME was what was I going to do when he got out? Am I nervous? I honestly, always thought that once it was over we would move, start new.
**On a side note, Detective Lorrie and I got to do some very cool things! At the end of filming "Stalked: Someone's Watching, we through a Guilty party - best party ever in my opinion! Then we were flown to NY City within 2 days of our initial interview. Imagine the nerves – this is SOOO outside my comfort zone… and our LUGGAGE WAS LOST! We got there with nothing and was going on KATIC COURIC the next day! It was 8:30 at night, and the stores close at 9:00. Our only option was to get up and go shopping. The Macy’s is huge and we are on a time limit! It was soooooooo stressful! I can’t even explain. Detective Lorrie – cool as a cucumber. Lol But at the end of the day, I got a whole new wardrobe and a fantastic pair of boots compliment of the Katie Couric show. 😊
In all of those interviews I never really talked about my police interactions, I knew there was an appeal coming up and didn’t want to do anything to effect it’s outcome. Chris and I also FINALLY got our carry permits. I WILL NOT live like that again. Oh hell no.
After so many years as using HidingHilda as an alias, I decided to name my first firearm Hilda. I was still HidingHilda, but now I was living out loud. Once I got comfortable carrying, it changed everything. I felt empowered, no longer weak, and would never go down without a fight. It also changed my mind about moving. I’m from here, my kids, my parents, my life were here – why should I have to move – why should I run away? So we didn’t.
I started speaking for the National Stalking Resource Center and at other Domestic Violence conferences. I took a promotion at work, but knew I had a life mission.
The company I worked for was a very conservative, gun free, professional accounting office. I looked and looked for a secure way to carry. I didn’t live in a waistband; it was very hard to carry on body. Most conceal carry purses were not my style. I liked my Coach, Michael Kors, etc… but wanted a dedicated pocket to secure Hilda – without imprinting. My employer eventually came to me and said I had to give up all my anti-stalking efforts, take it off my LinkedIn etc. and give them 120% or I would be let go. I had 30 days… 3 days after our initial conversation I was let go. Don’t get me wrong, I was distracted at best and was pretty happy to get unemployment while I figured out what I was going to do with the rest of my life.
Chris and I go to a Gun Show, and there was a small company “Bold and Courageous Woman” that sold concealed carry bags – that were different from ones I had previously seen. I got my first Gun Toten’ Mama that day and asked the owner of BCW if she wanted a partner. Turns out she wanted to sell the company! That’s it. That is what I’m going to do. I’m going to start a business. A business that focuses on women and self defense. Advocate for the 2nd Amendment. Use what God had given me. Between Thanksgiving and New Years we bought all her inventory, and jumped in with both feet. Our first show was January 2nd. The name of our company seemed so natural. January 2015 – HidingHilda, LLC was born – who would have ever thought!
In April I got a call from the prosecutors – 3 years after conviction. Stalker is getting out – ON MONDAY! How did this happen?? I had NO IDEA it was even a possibility!!! He got an Associates Degree and is working on a BS while incarcerated. That combined with good behavior meant he was out. With NO NOTICE! According to DOC the stalking statute was “missed” in the 45 day notification system and is still considered a victimless crime. The Prosecutors didn’t even know, they kind of stumbled across it, having got a call from a parole officer asking about any computer restrictions for the parolee. (We got stalking statue added to the notification system that same year). But OMG he’s going to be out on Monday! AND as soon as he walks out of prison – the protective order is up! How much sense does that make?? There is a PO while he is incarcerated, but it’s up as soon as he’s out!! Back to the courthouse I go. I don’t want him to make any mistake, I DO NOT WANT ANY CONTACT. Detective Lorrie goes with me. He hasn’t been in contact in the last 3 years, so had no idea if the PO would be granted. It was – no appeal this time!
I keep my eyes open everywhere I go and have Hilda. This time, I’m not hiding. In November 2015 that same year, I get a call from Detective Lorrie. He was arrested for violating his parole. He was found guilty on 2 counts but got right out with time served. Seriously?
By April 2016 he was totally off parole and done with his sentence. He wasn’t even supposed to be eligible for parole until February 2017! How can one person – his parole officer- decide he’s done? After and a 5 day trial, the judge, the jury – ONE fucker can just decide?? Oh I was pissed.
I’ve gotten a couple of calls now from women he’s dated… women who now have PO’s on him. He has forged a letter from the FBI exonerating him all charges and naming me as a ‘protected informant’ – explaining why he went to prison.
July 2018 – stalker starts visiting my daughter at her job. She FREAKS out of course. The owners won’t ban him without a PO. We decide not to get one. She is now 18 and would be required to fill one out – which means he would have all of her information too – and possibly an appeal. We make a police report to keep on file but didn’t not get a PO. I did decide though that now would be a good time to go after that 33K restitution. Remind him to stay away from us. Turns out, the way restitution works is it’s tied to parole. You don’t get off parole until restitution is paid. It’s one lump sum, no payments. That box wasn’t checked in my case. Which is another reason he got off parole. I literally had to get another attorney (And pay 33 1/3 of it) to take him to civil court. It was worth it.
The first letter went out. His attorney comes back with a statement saying he would pay ONLY if I sign a from and stop harassing him at work. WHAT?!?!? He says I’m harassing him OMG! NO – HELL NO!
The second letter comes with an offer of $5000. ‘He is going to be on disability soon and we won’t get a dime when that happens” Again – NO – HELL NO. I now know he’s owned a vape business for the past year and brags that he is doing “very well financially”. I tell my attorney it’s bullshit and won’t accept.
The third, we came to an agreement I can live with. March of 2019 - I actually GOT IT! Whoop! Felt like a victory!!
This experience has led to a whole new life I never imagined. I never would have got through it if it wasn't for Chris and my friends and family. I lost a lot over those 6 yrs., but it’s lead to amazing opportunities to help empower other women and 2nd Amendment Advocacy. I’ve meet the best people in the firearm industry, LOVE what I do, get to impact change, and feel like I’m making a difference.
Stalker lives about 10 minutes away in the next town over. Who knows if he’ll come back. I promise though, if he does, I’ll be ready.