Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Two unwanted attempts at contact with the victim is legally sufficient to support a conviction for stalking.
The relationship between Karen McCarthy (Karen) and Roman Sonny McCarthy (Roman) spanned a period of approximately 15 years. In October 1995, Karen decided to terminate it. Karen moved into a women's shelter, and shortly thereafter, obtained a restraining order against Roman. The protective order directed that Roman “not personally contact, telephone, or otherwise communicate, follow, harass, intimidate, threaten, annoy or disturb" the peace of Karen. Roman also obtained a restraining order against Karen. However, despite the issuance of both protective orders, Roman continued to telephone and mail letters to Karen. In November 1996, Roman was charged and convicted of stalking Karen in violation of the protective orders. He was sentenced to five years in the Montana State Prison (MSP). While incarcerated, Roman sent two letters to Karen. He was again charged with stalking, second offense, and tried before a jury. Roman moved to have the charges against him dismissed on the grounds that the two instances of attempted contact by letter were legally insufficient to support a conviction for stalking. The District Court denied both motions. Roman was found guilty and sentenced to five years at MSP, two years suspended, to run consecutively with his previous sentence. Roman appealed his conviction and the denial of his motion to dismiss.
Did the District Court err in denying Roman's motion to dismiss on the grounds that "repeatedly," as that term was used in § 45-5-220, MCA, meant more than twice?
The court affirmed Roman’s conviction for stalking Karen, holding that two unwanted contacts were sufficient to establish the element of repeated contact. According to the court, there was sufficient evidence to show that Karen suffered substantial emotional distress or reasonable apprehension of bodily injury or death, because the many letters Roman sent her prior to Roman’s first conviction had contained threats, and because her relationship with Roman had been tumultuous.