“I don’t want my wife walking out the door and having to look left and right for her safety,” said comedy writer and TV producer Chris Henchy, whose eyes welled with tears.
“It was disturbing what he had on his Facebook page, photos of him shirtless, photos of him with kids,” Henchy, 52, said of defendant John Rinaldi.
Henchy was especially alarmed by a long, rambling email Rinaldi, 49, sent Shields’ publicist, referencing a woman who was killed by her stalker, he said.
“Rebecca Schaeffer was an actress in Los Angeles who in 1989 was murdered by a guy named John Bardo,” explained Henchy, fighting back tears.
“John was a guy who traveled to Los Angeles, tried to give her gifts of stuffed animals, she rejected the gifts, he found out where she lived, he knocked on her door, she asked him to leave her alone, he came back and shot her.”
Rinaldi, too, had creepily delivered a box of stuffed animals to the “Suddenly Susan” star’s West 10th Street townhouse in 2013.
He said it was for the couple’s daughters Rowan, 13, and Grier, 10.
“For him to make that analogy was extremely disturbing,” said Henchy, wearing a navy blazer and jeans.
The hair-raising email was sent shortly after the “Blue Lagoon” actress went to the police to file a complaint against Rinaldi.
In the email, Rinaldi describes the Shaeffer case as having “shaped stalking laws” then bizarrely states, “She was murdered just two days after I moved to LA just across the street.”
The co-producer of HBO’s “Eastbound & Down” also testified about Rinaldi approaching him on his block in 2014 to discuss the stuffed animal gift he’d previously delivered.
“He just seemed agitated, excited, somewhat unhinged, there was a nervous energy about him,” Henchy told Judge Kevin McGrath at the non-jury trial. “He told me he had been at my house, and that he thought he’d spooked my wife.”
Henchy politely told Rinaldi to keep his distance, he said.
Rinaldi has been hounding Shields for three decades, showing up at her Broadway shows, parking in front of her house and sending her bizarre letters, said ADA Anjelica Gregory.
The obsessed fan, who was friends with Shields’ late mother, once gave her a silver frame with her picture in it, she testified. Her mom had given them out as party favors at her 18th birthday.
But the final straw came on May 5, 2015, when Shields’ left her house to attend a charity event. She noticed Rinaldi’s car parked directly in front of her home, and he had drawn her signature in the dirt of the car’s window, which she described as “beyond creepy.” She filed a police report the same day.
Defense lawyer Jonathan Stonbely argued that Rinaldi, who he described as “socially inept,” meant no harm.
He was simply trying to solicit her help in starting a children’s charity called The Sandy Hook Center.