NEW YORK – A lovesick former mental patient was convicted Tuesday of stalking and harassing Uma Thurman for more than two years, showing up on her front doorstep and movie set and sending the actress a series of creepy love letters.
Jack Jordan, a 37-year-old out-of-work lifeguard and pool cleaner, faces up to a year in jail. He was convicted of stalking and one count of aggravated harassment, and acquitted of two other harassment counts.
Jordan, who looked calm, was led from the courtroom in handcuffs. The judge ordered a psychiatric exam before his next court date on June 2.
"I've learned some disturbing things about this defendant during this case. I am going to remand him for a psychiatric exam," said state Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro, who also presided in May 2002 when an accused stalker from Germany pleaded guilty to aggravated harassment of actor Richard Gere.
Defense lawyer George Vomvolakis requested protective custody, saying Jordan faces "specific threats because he's a stalker. ... He was actually assaulted" in jail after his arrest.
The verdict came after a weeklong trial that featured riveting testimony from the Academy Award-nominated actress, who told the jury she was "completely freaked out" by Jordan's behavior.
Prosecutors say he had stalked the "Kill Bill" and "Pulp Fiction" star since 2005, when his crush on Thurman became so intense he said he had to be with her.
He showed up at Thurman's doorstep and the set of her movie "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" and sent a series of bizarre cards and letters to her, including 20 of them while he was locked up at a mental institution.
Jordan testified in his own defense, saying Friday he now understands how Thurman could have been frightened by his attempts to see her, and by the letter in which he said her two children didn't exist, and that they were "an illusion," among other bizarre statements.
"In a misguided way I was trying to give her an opportunity to meet me and give myself an opportunity to meet her," Jordan testified.
"I was feeling distressed," said Jordan. "I had this feeling of longing for Ms. Thurman and I was trying to explain it. I was not trying to scare her in any way."
Thurman testified for three hours Thursday, telling the jury about how the stalking frightened her.
She testified about a card Jordan delivered to her movie trailer in lower Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood. It bore a drawing of an open grave, a headstone and a man standing on the edge of a razor blade. A spiral of random words referred to "chocolate, mouth, soft, kissing" and declared, "My hands should be on your body at all times."
"I was completely freaked out," the 38-year-old Thurman said of the drawing, which was on a religious confirmation card. "It was almost like a nightmare; it was scary."
The defendant explained the drawing this way:
"I felt I was walking on the razor's edge," Jordan said. "I felt that it reflected this relationship that I unfortunately imagined that we had. ... This cartoon was meant to amuse her, to endear me to her."
Jordan also admitted that he told Thurman and her family that he would kill himself if he couldn't meet her. He said it "was a clumsy and poor way of expressing my emotions for her. I wasn't feeling suicidal, but I was expressing a depth of feeling that was very distressing."
He also said he was "humiliated" by the trial and by the fact that his private affections for Thurman had become so public.
Jordan said he first developed a crush on Thurman in high school after seeing her in the 1988 Terry Gilliam movie, "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen." His feelings for her intensified, he said, after he saw her in the Quentin Tarantino-directed "Kill Bill" in 2003.
The son of a physicist and a homemaker, Jordan has a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Chicago; he also has done most of the work for a master's degree at Mills College in Oakland, Calif.
The prosecutor noted Jordan's education and intelligence when she told jurors the defendant was trying to make them believe his pursuit of Thurman was naive and guileless when in fact, she said, it was subtly calculating and intimidating.
Jordan, who lives with his parents in Gaithersburg, Md., testified he was involuntarily committed to a mental facility in late 2005 after being questioned about his obsession with Thurman.
He was eventually released, and started repeatedly showing up at her apartment last year. At the time of his arrest, he was living out of his car and working part-time as a lifeguard and pool cleaner.