A mistrial has been declared in the case of a man accused of stalking singer Ashanti. Ashanti has previously given evidence about the man's attempts to contact her but, if a new trial goes ahead, may have to face her stalker again in court.
A Manhattan judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a man accused of stalking singer Ashanti Douglas, better known by her mononym Ashanti. The mistrial was declared on Thursday morning (18th December) after a juror became ill and it soon became apparent proceedings would be delayed for more than 24 hours.
Ashanti may have to face her stalker in court again.
36-year-old Devar Hurd was convicted of stalking Ashanti in 2009 after making a series of inappropriate telephone messages and requesting she send him pictures of her family. He served two years in prison for his offences but was released. Soon after his release he began to contact Ashanti via Twitter and even approached her sister with the hopes of obtaining a photograph, according to ABC News. It appears Hurd, using two aliases, sent Ashanti a series of lewd messages on Twitter, numbering in the hundreds and beginning almost as soon as he was released from prison.
In a recent trial, in which he was accused of flouting the court order in which he was ordered not to contact Ashanti, Hurd decided to represent himself. This allowed him to cross examine Ashanti in the witness box which was evidently a deeply uncomfortable experience for the 34-year-old singer. Indeed, a source speaking to the NY Times claimed Hurd may have deliberately ignored the order so he was once again in the same room as Ashanti and had the opportunity to speak to her.
The newspaper's source, assistant district attorney Rachel Ehrhardt, said "He [Hurd] was positively gleeful to sit no more than 10 feet from Ashanti, taking his time, talking to her, questioning her, keeping her on the stand, knowing this was the only way he was going to be able to talk to her."
Ashanti described how uncomfortable the court proceedings and being in the same room as Hurd had made her feel. Speaking to ABC News, Ashanti said "It was a horrible feeling. And to actually see him, you know, for the first time, really face-to-face, it was just like, 'I can't believe this is really happening right now.'"
Following the declaration of a mistrial, the prosecutors are hoping for a new trial, according to the NY Times. This would mean Ashanti, who has already faced and been cross examined by her stalker in court, would have to endure the ordeal again.
Ashanti's stalker was first jailed in 2009 but broke the court order not to contact her on his release.