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Rihanna seems to have stalkers everywhere. Last year, a New York City Judge called Kevin McGlynn a "ticking time bomb who is wholly fixated on [Rihanna]" after he staked her New York apartment and sent threatening letters. The year before that, Jonathan Whooper was arrested after he tried to break into Rihanna's L.A. home and claimed to be her "future husband."
This year, Rihanna has yet another stalker.
The Los Angeles Police Department is hunting for a stalker who goes by aliases Alex Mercer and Ralph Alexander on his social media accounts. Mercer has allegedly been fixated on Rihanna for a few months already.
On April 30, he posted a picture of himself in front of Rihanna's former home in Los Angeles. He then tweeted, "Should of killed @rihanna a minute back I would be good right now. Sorcery is a weapon I use guns, bout to get a gun license, can't use my hands."
Police have not arrested this man yet but are currently trying to track him through phone, computer, and social media records.
If Mercer is arrested, he'll likely be charged with stalking.
How Serious Is the Crime of Stalking?
In California, stalking is defined as "willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follow[ing] or ... harass[ing] another person and ... mak[ing] a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety." Stalking is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. However, if the suspect is stalking in violation of an existing restraining order, the punishment can be as much as four years in prison.
If Mercer is charged with stalking, he'll likely argue that his tweet wasn't actually a threat. He would argue that he didn't say he'll kill Rihanna, just that he should have. Technically, his statement doesn't say that he intends to kill Rihanna in the future.
Mercer's argument isn't likely to succeed. The statute states, "'credible threat' means a verbal or written threat ... made with the intent to place the person that is the target of the threat in reasonable fear for her safety." This means, Mercer doesn't have to intend to actually kill Rihanna, he just needs to intend to make Rihanna scared.
Regardless of how you interpret Mercer's statement, the issue is irrelevant unless the police catch him, hopefully soon.