Evaluation for Alleged Zeta-Jones Stalker

Evaluation for Alleged Zeta-Jones Stalker
Korpa/ABACA

08/02/2004 07:00AM

A Los Angeles judge has suspended the preliminary hearing for a woman accused of stalking and making threats against Catherine Zeta-Jones so that the defendant can be psychologically evaluated.

Richard Herman, the lawyer for the accused, aspiring psychologist Dawnette Knight, 32, claimed outside the courtroom Friday that the Chicago Oscar winner had driven his client to attempt suicide.

"The real blood is on her hands," said Herman, according to Reuters.

Judge Patricia Schnegg granted Herman's request for the evaluation, and the results from it will be heard Aug. 16.

During courtroom testimony last week, Zeta-Jones, 35, and her husband, Michael Douglas, 59, spoke of Knight hounding of them. According to the couple's testimony, Knight was obsessed with Douglas and wished to do violent harm to Zeta-Jones, whom Knight allegedly perceived as a gold digger out for his money.

Among the contents of letters read in court and allegedly attributed to Knight was a vow to slice up Zeta-Jones, whose head, one message stated, would "explode like President Kennedy's."

A tearful Zeta-Jones testified that the stress of the letters made her fear she would have a heart attack.

Last week's hearing was to determine if enough evidence existed to put Knight on trial. She stands accused of one felony count of stalking and 24 felony counts of making criminal threats. Her bail was set at $1 million.

But the hearing came to a grinding halt Thursday, when Herman said Knight was still groggy after taking sleeping pills simply because of lack of sleep. On Friday he revised his statement, saying that Knight had attempted suicide with an overdose of barbiturates.

"This case has turned into Hollywood against Dawnette Knight, and it's not a fair fight," the lawyer said outside court.

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