Man found guilty of stalking gymnast Shawn Johnson
LOS ANGELES (AP) - June 11, 2010 -- A judge found a Florida man guilty of stalking Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson on Friday and later determined he was legally insane at the time of the crime.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor found Robert O'Ryan guilty of felony stalking and burglary charges and two misdemeanor concealed weapons violations. The verdict came after four days of testimony and evidence.
Pastor, considering the evaluations of two psychiatrists, ruled that O'Ryan was legally insane at the time of his arrest last March. He likely will serve his sentence in a state mental hospital after a court-ordered evaluation.
He had faced up to four years in state prison and two years in county jail. He had waived the right to a jury trial and pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
O'Ryan did not react to Pastor's verdict. Johnson was not present.
"It's the right result," prosecutor Wendy Segall said after the verdict.
Segall argued that O'Ryan harbored a dangerous obsession to meet and marry Johnson, who won an Olympic gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He was arrested last March on a studio lot where Johnson was performing on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."
A search of O'Ryan's car parked near the studio turned up two loaded guns, a bulletproof vest, duct tape and zip ties and numerous writings to Johnson. He had driven from his home near Jacksonville, Fla. to Los Angeles in the hopes of meeting the athlete.
Johnson testified on Thursday that she was scared of O'Ryan, whom she had never met. She said she considered quitting "Dancing with the Stars" and moving back to Iowa, but she remained on the show and got a bodyguard. She won her season of the show.
O'Ryan's attorney, Judith Greenberg, argued that O'Ryan didn't have any criminal intent and did not plan to harm Johnson.
"It was clearly an insanity case from the beginning," Greenberg said after Pastor's rulings. "Insanity is a crude weapon for the defense. Perhaps the case shouldn't be in the system."
She said the process has "a very negative consequence" for many defendants. Throughout the trial, she spoke about how O'Ryan was a well-educated engineer who lost his job as he succumbed to schizophrenia.
He is due back in court on July 13 when Pastor will consider the results of his mental evaluation.
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