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Pursues Michael Jackson : Would-Be 'Billie Jean' Facing 1 1/2 Years in Jail

March 18, 1988|LYNN STEINBERG | Times Staff Writer

A woman who claims to be the Billie Jean popularized on Michael Jackson's hit album "Thriller" could spend 18 months in jail for repeatedly trespassing on the entertainer's Encino property.

Lavon A. Muhammad, 40--who insists that court officials call her Billie Jean Jackson--maintained at a hearing in Van Nuys Municipal Court Thursday that she is engaged to the pop superstar and has every right to be at his home.

Muhammad, whose attorney did not know her most recent address, also claims that Jackson fathered her 6-year-old twins, according to her court-appointed attorney, Michael M. Koire.

Deputy City Atty. David S. Kestenbaum, however, said the 29-year-old entertainer has never met Muhammad, and that she was not the inspiration for the song in which Jackson sings: "Billie Jean is not my lover" and "The kid is not my son."

Kestenbaum said Muhammad has been harassing Jackson for four years, loitering near his house, representing herself as his wife and instructing clerks at fashionable Ventura Boulevard boutiques to bill him for clothing she intended to purchase.

The situation grew so bad in 1986 that Jackson was forced to seek a retraining order from the court to keep Muhammad away, Kestenbaum said. The order is effective through 1990.

Kestenbaum said Muhammad appears to be an intelligent woman who simply suffers a delusion. "This delusion has got the best of her, and she is unable to operate a normal life," he said.

In addressing the judge Thursday, Muhammad was articulate, explaining her interest in having five witnesses from Jackson's family subpoenaed to testify on her behalf.

A former legal secretary, Muhammad has twice been convicted of trespassing on Jackson's Encino property. She is charged again with trespassing and with violating probation from her previous convictions.

The new charges stem from an incident Feb. 12 when Muhammad, toting a bottle of champagne, was arrested in Jackson's back yard at 3 a.m. after she scaled a 5-foot wall at the rear of the property, Kestenbaum said.

Jackson was out of town at the time, authorities said.

If Muhammad is convicted of trespassing and found to be in violation of her probation, she could be sentenced to 18 months in a jail or a psychiatric facility, Kestenbaum said.

Her attorney, Koire, said his client has submitted to a psychiatric examination that found she did not require hospitalization. And he maintains that Muhammad, who remains in custody at Sybil Brand Institute for Women in lieu of $1,000 bail, should not be incarcerated.

"She might have this delusion about Michael Jackson, but I don't think it is something she should spend time in jail for," Koire said.

In May, 1986, Muhammad was sentenced to 36 months' probation after being convicted of a misdemeanor count of trespassing, Kestenbaum said. In September, 1986, she was sentenced to 52 days in jail and two years' probation after she was convicted of trespassing again, he said.

Earlier this year, a Chicago judge dismissed a $150-million paternity lawsuit filed against Jackson by a woman named Lavon Powlis, an unemployed legal secretary who called herself Billie Jean. Defense attorney Koire said Thursday he was unaware of the lawsuit, but that "it sounds like the same person" as his client.

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