Juror Tells All in Uma Stalker Trial


May 7 2008, Published 2:16 p.m. ET

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A Wall Street Journal reporter is sharing her experience as a juror in the Uma Thurman stalker trial, including the jury's suspicions over whether the actress may have exaggerated her fear.

In an article published on the front page of Wednesday's paper, Emily Steel says she and 11 other jurors decided to convict former mental patient Jack Jordan of stalking and harassing Thurman.

"Our debate centered on a surprisingly complex question," Steel writes. "Where is the line between obsession and menace?"

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One of the issues Steel and the jurors debated was a November, 2005, incident in which Jordan showed up on the NYC set of Thurman's movie My Super Ex-Girlfriend with a package that included a card with a picture of a child praying, a letter that said "My hands should be on your body at all times," and a photo of a headless bride and Jordan's expired California drivers license.

"The judge told us we had to decide whether the package was intended to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm her," Steel wrote, adding that there was enough reasonable doubt that jurors couldn't convict him on that charge, and that "nearly two-thirds of the jurors said the purpose of the card was to express his love."

Then there was the other issue: Jordan showed up at Thurman's Greenwich Village doorstep last August, rang the door bell repeatedly and slipped a letter through the mail slot. He was arrested in October, and had been living out of his car in Manhattan.

As for Uma's testimony, the actress spent much of the week-long trial giving what some called the best performance of her life. Steel writes that some of the jurors questioned the legitimacy of her fear.

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Thurman,38, told the jury she was "completely freaked out" by Jordan's behavior and called the experience "a nightmare".

"The fact that she was a famous movie star made us partly charmed, partly suspicious," Steel says in the article. "One juror jokingly said Ms. Thurman isn' t that great an actress, but that her delivery on the witness stand was the most heartfelt performance he'd ever seen her give."

In the end, though, Steel and the other jurors convicted Jordan. The 37-year old out-of-work lifeguard and pool cleaner was found guilty on Tuesday on one count of stalking and one count of aggravated harassment, and faces up to one year in jail.

''The decision was easy for us: The nonstop doorbell-ringing, accompanied by a letter like this, clearly sounded like intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm,'' Steel said. ''We decided on a guilty charge of one count of aggravated harassment.''


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