John Heard Gets Probation

Home Alone actor harassed Homicide's Melissa Leo

By Marcus Errico May 14, 1997 6:30 PMTags
John Heard, best known as Macaulay Culkin's derelict dad in the Home Alone films, was sentenced to 18 months probation and mandatory psychological treatment Tuesday for harassing actress Melissa Leo--the mother of his child. Afterwards, he groused that the legal system "hates fathers."

Heard was convicted in March of telephone misuse and trespassing after he made several dozen phone calls to the Homicide actress' Baltimore home. However, he was acquitted of the more serious charges of assault and harassment.

If he violates his probation, which includes a 22-week program for abusive partners and psychological treatment, Heard could face the maximum sentence of six years and two months.

That means Heard, 51, must keep his distance from ex-girlfriend Leo and her live-in boyfriend, John Russell, except to arrange court-approved visitation with his 9-year-old son, Jack.

After the sentencing, Heard lashed out at the legal system. "I brought him (John) into the world with his mother and, as such, I see him for a day and a half every 14 days. I just don't think that's fair," Heard told reporters.

Leo refused comment after leaving the courtroom. At the trial, she testified that she felt she was living "in a war zone," created by Heard. She said he began harassing her after he lost a custody fight over their son in 1994. "I have not been able to focus at work," Leo said. "I have been in tears on the telephone with attorneys. During this entire season, I have been extremely distracted by this behavior going on."

Heard's attorney, David Irwin, said Heard wants to put his problems with Leo behind him, for the sake of their son. "He just loves his kid a lot and wants to spend more time with him," Irwin said.