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Trial to Begin in Stalking of Weatherman : Courts: A former LAPD officer is accused of harassing Dallas Raines and his wife and loitering outside their home.

February 25, 1993|DENISE HAMILTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

GLENDALE — A former Los Angeles police officer allegedly ran marathons to win the love of a KABC weatherman before she ended up in court this week on trial for stalking the man and his wife.

Martha Cane, a 41-year-old woman who now is apparently homeless, allegedly wrote repeated love letters to weatherman Dallas Raines over a year, at one point reportedly telling him that KABC News anchor Harold Greene notified her in "code" during newscasts that if she ran three marathon races, she would marry Raines and have his baby.

When arrested outside Raines' home last month, Cane told investigators that Raines' wife, Daniella, was an evil woman who would have to be dealt with because she was preventing Cane from being with Raines, according to the police report.

When investigators asked Cane how this would be accomplished, Cane responded, "I can't tell you, but I'll take care of it," according to court documents.

Opening arguments were expected late Wednesday in Glendale Municipal Court, with prosecutors attempting to show that Cane broke a 1990 stalking law by maliciously following or disturbing the Raines' peace with the intent of making them fear death.

Cane was arrested Jan. 23 by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies after harassing the couple and loitering around their La Crescenta home, officials said.

Cane has pleaded innocent to a misdemeanor charge of stalking and is being held in lieu of $3,500 bail. If convicted, she faces up to a year in County Jail and a $1,000 fine. Her attorney, Deputy Public Defender Phillip Matsumoto, declined comment on the case.

LAPD spokeswoman Karen Klobuchar said she couldn't comment about Cane's employment with the department. But Deputy Dist. Atty. Mark Kim said Cane was a police officer from 1983 to 1986, when she resigned voluntarily.

Cane met Raines about one year ago, court documents show, when she showed up at KABC's studio in Hollywood and asked to speak to the weatherman, who is known for his Southern California tan and sculpted hair.

According to investigators, Raines came down and signed Cane's autograph book. But Raines called security guards after Cane requested a private conversation with him, saying they had to talk about when "we were married in Hungary." Raines told security guards he believed Cane was mentally unstable, according to the police report.

Cane made 10 more attempts to see Raines at the KABC studio and followed him to numerous public appearances at charity functions, according to the police report, as well as writing up to two letters a week.

Prosecutors said charges against Cane were filed after she made threats against Raines and his family. The former police officer, who has no car but rides a red mountain bicycle, was arrested near Raines' home around 7:30 p.m. after she ignored warnings by deputies to leave the property, according to the police report.

At the time of her arrest, deputies found a photograph in Cane's possession that showed her crossing the finish line of a 1992 marathon race. Raines told investigators he had been present at that race and recalled that Cane came up to him afterward and said "That's three."

A doctor at Olive View Medical Center who evaluated Cane's mental state after her arrest called the Raines house that evening to warn them that Cane had made "life-threatening statements" about Raines, his wife and their children, according to the police report.

The report also stated that authorities believe Cane was capable of carrying out her threats because of her firearms and tactical training with the LAPD.

Raines, 39, received his bachelor's degree in earth science at Florida State University and has taught courses in meteorology at Cal State Los Angeles. He joined KABC in 1984.

In an interview, Raines said that while it isn't unusual for TV personalities to have ardent fans, he became worried as Cane's behavior grew more unhinged.

"Unfortunately with anyone on TV, that's what we have to put up with, it's just part of being in the public eye," Raines said. "But this lady is an ex-LAPD officer. Obviously she's been trained in weapons fire, and that's frightening. She threatened my wife. We became very concerned with that."

Raines says he has gotten a restraining order to keep Cane away and that he intends to beef up security at his home if Cane is released.

The stalking of celebrities has grown more prevalent in recent years.

In 1982, actress Theresa Saldana nearly died in a knife attack by a deranged fan bent on killing her. In a 1989 case that shocked Hollywood, actress Rebecca Schaeffer was killed by a crazed fan who had obtained her address from the Department of Motor Vehicles. In 1990, a woman obsessed with late-night host David Letterman was sentenced to jail for one year for breaking into the comedian's house for the sixth time.

Following Schaeffer's murder, the California Legislature passed a bill restricting the release of home addresses by the DMV. In 1990, the state also made stalking a crime, defining it as "maliciously following or disturbing the peace of others with the intent of making them fear death."

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