Published July 14, 2011
LOS ANGELES – A man charged with stalking Halle Berry pleaded not guilty Wednesday and was ordered to stay 500 yards away from the Oscar-winning actress if he is released from jail.
Richard A. Franco, 27, did not speak during a brief arraignment hearing that occurred hours after he was charged with stalking.
Deputy Public Defender Ken Star, entered the plea on his behalf and did not oppose the court order protecting Berry that was issued by Superior Court Judge Upinder S. Kalra.
The actress did not attend the hearing, but has come face-to-face at least twice since Saturday, when he first breached security at her Hollywood Hills home.
A prosecutor and Star said Berry identified Franco after his arrest Monday night.
Star read from a police report that stated Berry "appeared very shaken and showed signs of stress" when police asked her to identify Franco, but he conceded his client admitted to being at her home.
"She's in extreme fear of this defendant," Deputy District Attorney Wendy Segall said during the arraignment.
Berry obtained a civil restraining order requiring Franco to stay 100 yards away from her and her 3-year-old daughter on Tuesday. She wrote that Franco almost followed her into her kitchen on Sunday afternoon. She said she was able to lock the door and call police before he entered her house.
Kalra's order will expire in three years or once the case against Franco has concluded.
Franco will return to court on July 27 for a preliminary hearing where some of the evidence against him will be presented. He faces up to three years in prison if convicted. He remains jailed with bail set at $150,000.
Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/celebritydocket