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COUNTYWIDE FOCUS

'Terrorist' Ordered to Undergo Evaluation

August 30, 1994|JULIE FIELDS

A man convicted of making terrorist threats against a woman he knew from junior high school was ordered Monday to undergo a psychological evaluation by county mental health workers before being sentenced.

Matthew James Towler, 27, who is now homeless, will be examined to see if he is eligible for the county's Forensic Alternative Community Treatment program, an inpatient therapy program for individuals convicted of crimes.

Towler pleaded guilty in January to making terrorist threats against Lisa Plott, the wife of Ventura County Fire Capt. Norman J. Plott.

Towler attended junior high with the woman but had not seen her for more than a dozen years when he began calling her in 1990.

Towler allegedly contacted Plott, who lives in Oak View, periodically over the next few years and was caught looking into the family's mailbox last November.

Prosecutors initially charged Towler with misdemeanor stalking, making annoying phone calls, making anonymous phone calls and making terrorist threats.

For threatening Plott, Towler faces from 16 months to three years in prison. The other charges were later dismissed.

A judge could suspend Towler's prison term and order him to enter a psychiatric treatment program while on probation.

Prison officials who examined Towler in March recommended he undergo therapy and not be incarcerated.

A psychologist at Wasco State Prison diagnosed Towler as having a "mild delusional disorder and a history of substance abuse," according to a probation report prepared for sentencing.

Interviewed at Ventura County Jail, Towler told a probation officer that he had "held the image and impression of the victim in his mind since the eighth grade and was very drawn to her."

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