Stalking is one of the most terrifying crimes of our time. Why is it so terrifying? It’s probably because it’s so hard to define. Stalking is unwanted or obsessive attention that is provided by an individual or group towards another person. Although this may seem like a clear-cut description of stalking, the problems associated with this definition are insurmountable. This is because it’s so incredibly difficult to prove when someone is stalking you. While calling someone or sending someone letters is perfectly legal, doing it repeatedly when the receiving party has asked you to stop multiple times is walking the thin line between what is legal and what is considered to be stalking.
Although receiving multiple, unwanted advances from someone can be alarming, getting the police to intervene can be difficult at best. Most of the time, police can’t really do anything about the obsessive, unwanted attention, because what the perpetrator is doing is considered to be legal in the eyes of the law. It’s only when a serious threat or an attack against the victim's life is made that police can finally intervene, hopefully before it’s to late. Below is a list of ten people who were victims of stalking. Some survived their ordeal, while others were killed by their stalkers. These ten people endured psychological, physical and emotional torture, all at the hand of their stalkers.
10 A Female Corrections Officer and Jaime Calloway
Jaime Calloway was arrested for stalking charges, after developing an unhealthy obsession with a female corrections officer from Montgomery jail, where she was doing time for obstruction, criminal damage, domestic violence, theft and drug possession. Reportedly, Calloway believed that the two were in a relationship with one another and showed her love to the corrections officer by slashing her tires, repeatedly calling her house and sending her packages in the mail. Luckily for the female corrections officer, the police were able to tell right away that Calloway was the perpetrator because of the very noticeable tattoo on her forehead. She was arrested on stalking charges and was set to await trial in 2012.
9 Jodie Foster and John Warnock Hinckley Jr.
On March 30, 1981, John Warnock Hinckley Jr.’s obsession with Jodie Foster led to his assassination attempt on U.S President, Ronald Reagan. Apparently, Hinckley had become obsessed with Foster after seeing her in the film Taxi Driver, in which Foster played a child prostitute. When Foster decided to take a break from acting to enroll at Yale University, Hinckley enrolled at Yale with the intent to stalk her. He acted on his obsession by giving her love notes and writing her poems. On March 30, 1981, Hinckley gave Foster a note stating his intention to assassinate the President in order to win her affection. Later that day, he drove to Washington D.C where he shot the President and several members of the cabinet. The President survived the shooting and Hinckley was institutionalized because of a “not guilty by reason of insanity" defense.
8 Randi Barber and Gary Dellapenta
With the invention of the Internet came along, so did a new form of stalking called “cyberstalking.” This form of stalking wasn't made illegal until 1999, when a man named Gary Dellapenta was the first man to be charged with this crime.
In 1997, Dellapenta developed an obsession with a younger woman from his church named Randi Barber. Dellapenta became instantly obsessed with Barber and started making advances towards her. Eventually, the harassment that Barber received from Dellapenta became so bad that she persuaded the rest of the church to ban Dellapenta from the congregation. But that didn't stop him for long. Dellapenta took to cyberstalking Barber in order to enact his revenge. Dellapenta would set up sex ads impersonating Barber that would give out her address and say that she had always had a rape fantasy. In a period of five months, 6 different men showed up at Barber’s door saying that they were there to fulfill her rape fantasy. Luckily, Dellapenta was arrested on stalking charges and sentenced to six years in prison before Barber got hurt.
7 Mary Stauffer and Ming Sen Shiue
Ming Sen Shiue met Mary Stauffer when he attended Alexander Ramsey High School. Stauffer was his ninth-grade algebra teacher, and Shiue quickly developed a crush on her. Unfortunately, this schoolboy crush developed into a fifteen-year obsession. In the 70’s, Shiue spent his time relentlessly stalking Stauffer. On May 26, 1980, Shiue managed to abduct Stauffer and her 8-year-daughter, Elizabeth while holding them at gunpoint. He tied both of them up and put them in the trunk of his car.
While Shiue was driving, he stopped the car because his victims in the back were making so much noise. This caught the attention of a six-year-old boy who Shiue later beat to death with a metal rod. For the next two months, Shiue kept Stauffer and her daughter captive in his house, where he repeatedly raped them. On July 7, Stauffer and her daughter managed to escape their captor and called for help. Shiue was arrested and sentenced to 40 years in prison for murder and another 30 for kidnapping.
6 Collette Dwyer and Derrick Todd Lee
In 2002, a man named Derrick Todd Lee was stalking Collette Dwyer. What makes this case all the more terrifying is that Dwyer believed that Lee was a serial killer. The pair met when Lee started hanging around Dwyer’s place of employment. During this time, Lee made continuous advances towards Dwyer, which she always rejected. In 1999, Lee’s obsession became serious. He ended up forcing his way into Lee’s apartment in order to, “take care of her.” Eventually, Lee went to prison for two years for unrelated crimes, but as soon as he got out, he began stalking Dwyer again.
During this time, Dwyer heard about the murder of a woman in Baton Rouge. Believing that Lee was the murderer, she told the police about her suspicions but they refused to give her accusations any credit. However, in May 2003, Dwyer’s suspicions were proved correct. The police took Lee’s DNA because of a rape case and ended up linking him to seven different murders. Lee was nicknamed “The Baton Rouge Serial Killer,” and was sentenced to death. He is currently sitting on death row at the Louisiana State penitentiary.
5 Theresa Saldana and Arthur Richard Jackson
One of the first celebrity stalking cases to garner national attention involved actress, Theresa Saldana and her stalker, Arthur Richard Jackson. Jackson first became infatuated with Saldana after he saw her in the movie, Defiance. After he fell desperately in love with the actress, he moved all the way from Scotland to the United States, in order to find Saldana, murder her and then join her in the afterlife, after he was executed for the murder of Saldana. To put his plan in motion, Jackson obtained Saldana’s address by posing as a representative for director Martin Scorsese. Once he got the address, Jackson sat outside of Saldana’s house armed with a hunting knife. When she exited the house, he stabbed her ten times.
Miraculously, Saldana survived the event when a deliveryman managed to subdue Jackson. Jackson ended up with a twelve-year sentence on attempted murder charges. Instead of letting her attacker get the best of her, Saldana ended up becoming an advocate for victim’s rights.
4 Rebecca Schaffer and Robert John Bardo
Rebecca Schaffer was a rising star when her life was tragically cut short by her stalker, Robert John Bardo. Bardo had become obsessed with the actress after seeing her on the sitcom, My Sister Sam. He had even made a shrine dedicated to Schaffer in his room. However, Bardo became disappointed in his favorite actress when he saw her perform a sex scene in one of her films. He decided that she needed to be punished and went about obtaining her address through a private investigator.
On July 18, Bardo went to Schaffer’s apartment and buzzed her door explaining that he was her biggest fan. Schaffer asked him to leave but he continued to buzz the door. When Schaffer answered the door, Bardo shot and killed her. Bardo was eventually charged with first-degree murder and received a life sentence.
3 Laurie Show and Lisa Michelle Lambert
In 1991, 16-year old Laurie Show was being stalking by fellow classmate, Lisa Michelle Lambert. Lambert became obsessed with Show after Show had dated a mutual acquaintance named, Lawrence ‘Butch’ Yunkin. Lambert, who was pregnant with Yunkin’s child, believed that Show was trying to still her boyfriend and she wanted revenge. In reality, Yunkin had actually raped Show, and Show wanted absolutely nothing to do with him. But this didn't matter to Lambert who continuously threatened Show.
On December 21, Show’s mother received a call from a counselor, asking her to come to the school for a meeting. Sadly, the call was just a diversion to get Show’s mother out of the house. When Show’s mother returned home she found her daughter barely alive, with her throat slashed. Show used her last words to tell her mother that Lambert was responsible. The very next day, Lambert was arrested with her friend, Tabitha Buck for the murder of Laurie Show. Yunkin was also arrested for dropping the two girls off to perform the deed. Both Lambert and Buck received life sentences for their crimes, while Yunkin received a lighter sentence for testifying against them.
2 Priyadarshini Mattoo and Santosh Singh
One of the most controversial cases of stalking involved the murder of 25-year old student, Priyadarshini Mattoo by her stalker, Santosh Singh. The pair met when they were both attending Delhi University. Singh soon became obsessed with Mattoo. Singh spent one year constantly stalking Mattoo before she was provided with a security officer to protect her. However, this did nothing to dissuade her stalker. On January, 23 1996, Mattoo was found murdered in her home. She had been raped and beaten with a motorcycle helmet before being strangled with a wire.
The case seemed like a no-brainer. A neighbor of Mattoo’s had seen Singh enter Mattoo’s house on the night of the murder and as a result, he was the prime suspect. However, Singh’s father was the Inspector-General of the police force during this time and the Central Bureau of Investigation did a terrible job of investigating the murder. In 1999, a Judge acquitted Singh of his crimes while saying that he believed that Singh was guilty but he could not charge him because of the inadequate investigation that had taken place. In 2006, this controversial decision was reversed and the Delhi High Court sentenced Singh to death. In 2010, his sentence was reduced to life.
1 Laura Black and Richard Farley
In 1984, Richard Farley became obsessed with fellow employee, Laura Black. He started making advances towards her and giving her gifts, all of which Black turned down. Over the next four years, Farley’s obsession began to grow. He wrote over 200 letters declaring his love for Black. Black was forced to move several times in order to fend off Farley’s advances. Finally, in 1986, Farley’s employer let him go after they believed his behavior had reached an unsafe level. However, this did not stop Farley from pursuing Black. Eventually, Black decided to file a restraining order against Farley but just a day before the hearing was scheduled, Farley did the unthinkable. He returned to the building that Black worked at, armed with several different guns.
He shot his first victim in the parking lot before continuing into the building. He shot another several employees before going into Black’s office and shooting her twice. Even though Black survived the ordeal, seven other employees lost their lives. Farley was eventually found guilty on seven counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to death. He is currently sitting on death row at San Quentin.