Jan. 12, 1996 -- In Los Angeles this week, the creepily personalized form of terrorism known as "stalking" was on many minds as the trial of a drifter who'd openly vowed to slash Madonna's throat -- and who barged onto the grounds of her LA home three times last spring -- finally came to a conclusion that many women must have cheered.
In her own testimony last week, Madonna told of the eerie notes she'd received from 39 year old Robert Hoskins -- and what she called the crazed look in his eye when he suddenly appeared out of the bushes on her property. Hoskins was so menacing that in a struggle with Madonna's security guard last May, the intruder was shot twice before being hauled off by police. Hoskins' lawyer tried to soft peddle the incidents -- but the four women on the jury weren't buying that -- and they made their case convincingly to the eight male jurors.
The verdict, after five hours of deliberation -- guilty -- and the prosecutor says that at Hoskins' sentencing
hearing February 8th, she'll seek the maximum -- eleven years in jail. Here are some comments from the jurors and the opposing lawyers.
JOHN VTECH, juror: If he made those statements repeatedly then he certainly gave the effect of "I can do this if I want to."
REPORTER: That he could actually kill Madonna?
JOHN MYERS, Hoskins attorney: I'm disappointed with the verdicts but, you know, I believe in the jury system.
PENNY PARKER, juror: Do I sympathize with Madonna? Oh, I would be scared to death. Sure I would.
NICHOLAS DeWITT, Madonna's attorney: One of the concerns that Madonna had was the copycat syndrome. And that's clearly a concern of hers even today.
In a post-trial press statement, Madonna -- who recently acknowledged to an English publication that she'd been raped as a young woman in New York -- said "I hope that the outcome of this case helps other stalking victims to know that the system can and does work."
She's not likely to forget her tormentor though, and she's selling her house.