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Stalking Charges Filed

Courts: A Los Angeles County Grand Jury member is accused of following a fellow juror.

June 29, 2002|ANNA GORMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Los Angeles County civil grand juror has been charged with stalking another grand juror, authorities said Friday.

James Bernard Avery, 63, is also charged with making criminal threats against fellow grand juror Tammi Sharp. He pleaded not guilty to the felony charges on Thursday and is scheduled to appear in Superior Court on Monday, when a date is to be set for his preliminary hearing, district attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.

He is being held in County Jail on $1 million bail.

Prosecutors allege that Avery began "willfully, maliciously and repeatedly" following and harassing the victim on May 1, according to a felony complaint for an arrest warrant.

Sharp reported the incidents to court officials, who referred the case to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Avery was arrested June 21, and was released from custody on $150,000 bail, sheriff's officials said.

After his release, he continued the stalking, prosecutors allege. At one point, deputies believe he called Sharp, who is 37 and married, and told her to drop the charges.

Prosecutors filed additional charges of stalking, making criminal threats and dissuading a witness by force or threat. Sheriff's deputies rearrested Avery on Wednesday.

"My belief is that Mr. Avery is obsessed with Ms. Sharp, based on the volume of e-mails, letters and uninvited appearances at her house," said Sheriff's Sgt. Bill Conley.

Sharp told sheriff's officials that on Thursday night, she was going to a store in Bellflower when two men in their 40s approached her and indicated they were police officers. Conley said the men then allegedly assaulted her, and she "was bruised up pretty badly." Conley said the men told her that if she did not drop the charges against Avery, "this is just the beginning of what's going to happen."

The men have not been identified, and there have been no arrests in that incident.

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