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Florida man convicted of stalking Shawn Johnson

June 11, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Florida man has been convicted of stalking Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson.There are two parts to the trial. The judges found O'Ryan guilty on charges of stalking, weapons possession, and breaking and entering onto the CBS lot. The main issue now is whether Robert O'Ryan is not guilty by reason of insanity.

Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson was rehearsing for "Dancing With the Stars" in March 2008. Alleged stalker Robert O'Ryan believed she was in jeopardy. He told investigators that voices in his head urged him to drive 2,500 miles, his car packed with weapons, to save her.

In final arguments, L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Wendy Segall told the judge O'Ryan had a deadly and obsessive intent. "The only person who knows he heard voices is the defendant. He is intelligent, manipulative, deceitful," said Segall.

Segall stressed the point that he was sane enough to plan a cross-country trip, get onto the CBS Television City lot in Los Angeles and get within 10 feet of the studio where Shawn Johnson was about to perform.

Yet O'Ryan suffered from schizophrenia, according to two court-approved psychiatrists.

Dr. Joseph Simpson testified that O'Ryan's mind was impaired, "unable to distinguish reality properly."

O'Ryan's statements were consistent, said the doctor, with no signs of lying.

Public defender Judith Greenberg argued that the 36-year-old Florida man had no plan to hurt Johnson.

Johnson testified she was scared when she found out about O'Ryan.

Greenberg said O'Ryan never harassed Johnson. She didn't know he existed until after he was in custody.

Regarding intent, Segall referred to poetry that was found with loaded guns, zip-ties and a bulletproof vest. She said he writes only of eternity with Johnson, not saving her.

O'Ryan faces five years behind bars on the issue of insanity. And depending on which way the judge decides, O'Ryan could also face a lifetime in a state hospital.


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