Close
BRAND NEW ON E!
  • News/ 

    "Very Scared" Shawn Johnson Stares Down Alleged Stalker

    Shawn Johnson, Dancing with the Stars ABC/KELSEY MCNEAL

    "To see that somebody had that much obsession, it made me really scared."

    So said Shawn Johnson this morning in a Los Angeles courtroom, as the gold medalist took the stand against the man accused of stalking her during her disco ball-winning run on ABC's Dancing With the Stars.

    The 18-year-old Johnson, voice quivering at times, recounted her reaction upon hearing that 36-year-old Robert O'Ryan was caught sneaking onto the CBS lot last spring where DWTS tapes, allegedly packing a so-called kidnapping kit including two guns, a knife, duct tape, zip ties and love letters in which their last names were hyphenated.

    The news chilled her.

    "I didn't know him," she said. "He was a stranger to me...We had thought about leaving the show, and moving home if it was necessary."

    She canceled personal appearances and avoided some of her favorite haunts.

    "We had kind of changed everything," she continued during her half-hour of testimony. "I was told I couldn't go shopping or basically [to] public places."

    When Assistant D.A. Wendy Segall held up the knife for the court, Johnson recoiled on the witness stand, but quickly regained her composure. The prosecutor also showed the jury the shotgun, handgun and a bulletproof vest authorities had found in his possession.

    O'Ryan has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to felony stalking and burglary charges as well as two misdemeanor counts of carrying a loaded weapon.

    Authorities claim his obsession with Johnson began after her gold medal-winning performance at the Beijing Olympics made her an international celebrity.

    Johnson's manager, Sheryl Shade, also took the stand and told jurors that the defendant had unsuccessfully tried to get on the guest list allowing him access to Dancing's studio. Upon learning of him, the Olympian was so freaked out that she subsequently scrapped all public appearances, hired a security firm, and moved to an undisclosed location.

    O'Ryan's attorney, Judith Greenberg, aimed to prove her client was not in a sane state of mind at the time of his arrest. A video was later shown to jurors in which O'Ryan told detectives he had heard Johnson's voice in his head along with those of celebrities including Ludacris, Steve-O and Dancing host Tom Bergeron.

    If convicted of the charges, O'Ryan could get a maximum six year prison sentence. If found guilty by reason of insanity, however, the judge could remand him to a state institution for a longer period of time.

    ________

    Unfortunately, Shawn isn't the only one who's had to deal with obsession. Check out our Stars with Stalkers gallery.

    RELATED VIDEOS:

    FROM AROUND THE WEB
    MORE ON EONLINE