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Alleged stalker obsessed with Shawn Johnson

June 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A man accused of stalking Shawn Johnson harbored a dangerous obsession to marry the Olympic gold-medalist, a prosecutor claimed Tuesday.Robert O'Ryan is charged with one felony count each of stalking and commercial burglary, along with two misdemeanor counts of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle in a city.

The 36-year-old sat in court quietly as prosecutor Wendy Segall described to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor how he drove from Jacksonville, Fla., to Los Angeles in an attempt to meet the Olympic gold-medalist.

O'Ryan was arrested March 23, 2009, while trying to get on the set of "Dancing With the Stars" where Johnson eventually was crowned the champion.

Following his arrest, numerous items were found in his car, including a handgun beneath the vehicle's front seat, and a shotgun in the trunk.

According to Segall on Tuesday, the guns were loaded at the time of his arrest last March. She also said that O'Ryan had duct tape, plastic ties and a bulletproof vest in the car.

On Monday, O'Ryan entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. If Pastor rules he is insane, O'Ryan could be sent to a state mental hospital. If convicted without the insanity plea, he faces nearly four years in state prison and two years in county jail.

O'Ryan's attorney, Judith Greenberg, said in her opening remarks that O'Ryan posed no threat to Johnson. She said that he developed a mental illness years ago and had a delusional fascination with Johnson.

She also said he thought he needed to protect Johnson, not harm her.

O'Ryan waived his right to a jury trial, meaning that the judge is the sole decision-maker in both the guilt and sanity phases.

Johnson is expected to take the witness stand later this week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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