Convicted Uma Thurman stalker faces year in jail

May 6, 2008 6:45:39 PM PDT
A former mental patient obsessed with Uma Thurman faces up to a year in jail after a jury convicted him Tuesday of stalking and harassing the actress with a barrage of frightening advances. Jack Jordan, a 37-year-old out-of-work lifeguard and pool cleaner, showed no emotion as the jury forewoman said he was guilty of stalking and one count of aggravated harassment.

The balding, bespectacled Jordan was calm as court officers led him from the courtroom in handcuffs with an officer carrying the large, overstuffed backpack Jordan always brought to court. The judge ordered a psychiatric exam before Jordan's next court date on June 2.

"I've learned some disturbing things about this defendant during this case," said state Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro. "I am going to remand him for a psychiatric exam."

Defense lawyer George Vomvolakis said Jordan was disappointed with the verdict and that he will soon decide whether to appeal. He requested protective custody for Jordan, saying he faces "specific threats because he's a stalker." "He was actually assaulted" in jail after his arrest, he said.

A Thurman spokesman said the actress had no comment on the verdict. Prosecutors also said they would not comment.

Despite the conviction, Jordan will not face much time behind bars. The most the judge can give him on the misdemeanor counts is one year, and Jordan can get time lopped off for good behavior and the six weeks he already served.

The judge can issue an order of protection that requires Jordan to stay away from Thurman.

The verdict comes after a weeklong trial that featured riveting testimony from Thurman, who told the jury she was "completely freaked out" by Jordan's behavior. She called the whole experience "a nightmare."

Prosecutors say Jordan had stalked the "Kill Bill" and "Pulp Fiction" star since 2005, when an intense crush that had been building since high school made him decide the two just had to be together. At one point, he sent a note that said, "My hands should be on your body at all times."

He showed up on Thurman's Greenwich Village doorstep and on the Manhattan set of her movie "My Super Ex-Girlfriend." He sent her bizarre cards and letters, at least 20 of them after he was committed to a Maryland mental facility.

Jordan testified in his own defense, saying Friday he now understands how Thurman could have been frightened by his attempts to see her, and by his comment that her two children didn't exist, that they were "an illusion."

"I was feeling distressed," said Jordan. "I had this feeling of longing for Ms. Thurman and I was trying to explain it. I was not trying to scare her in any way."

Thurman, 38, testified for three hours Thursday, captivating the jury with her story of how the stalking frightened her and made her fear for her children.

She testified about a card Jordan delivered to her movie trailer in lower Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood. It bore a drawing of an open grave, a headstone and a man standing on the edge of a razor blade. A spiral of random words on the card referred to "chocolate, mouth, soft, kissing" and the remark about his hands being on her body.

Jordan said he developed a crush on Thurman in high school after seeing her in the 1988 Terry Gilliam movie "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen." His feelings intensified after he saw her in the Quentin Tarantino-directed "Kill Bill" in 2003.

The son of a physicist and a homemaker, Jordan earned a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Chicago in 1994; he also has done most of the work for a master's degree.

The prosecutor noted Jordan's education and intelligence when she told jurors the defendant was trying to make them believe his pursuit of Thurman was naive and guileless when in fact, she said, it was subtly calculating and intimidating.

Jordan, one of eight children, lives with his parents in Gaithersburg, Md. He testified they had him committed to a mental facility in late 2005 after learning he was being investigated because of his obsession with Thurman.

After his release, Jordan started showing up repeatedly at Thurman's house last year. When he was arrested on Oct. 5, 2007, he was living out of his car in Manhattan and working part-time as a lifeguard and pool cleaner.