A convicted stalker has been acquitted in the case involving Hollywood actress, Gwyneth Paltrow. Dante Soiu, 67, a former pizza delivery man, has sent Paltrow some 48 letters since 1998 – the year of Paltrow’s Oscar-winning hit Shakespeare in Love.
During the trial, the actress was reduced to tears, recounting how messages received from Soiu contained pornography and strong religious views. She said she was “scared” and that the continued communications “defy logic.”
Mr Soiu had been successfully convicted of stalking Miss Paltrow before. The earlier case dates from December 2000. He was found guilty of turning up at her parents house looking for her, and sending sex toys and other explicit content in the mail.
On that occasion the judge ruled Mr Soiu to be insane, committing him to a psychiatric facility for treatment.
In the more recent case, the jury of six men and six women heard how Soiu had continued to send Miss Paltrow messages in the years after his original conviction. Paltrow, who testified that she was in fear “for her life”, told how she had been dealing with communications from this man for a total of 17 years.
Mr Soiu’s defence counsel, Lynda Westlund, pointed out that Soiu was a Christian, who was attempting to minister to Paltrow in the written communications. Soiu is reported to have said he was lonely, and wanted a “pen pal.”
During the trial, Paltrow said she was in fear for the safety of her children. The 43-year old actress has two, aged 12 and 10 – with estranged husband and Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin.
The jury foreman in the case said both Paltrow and Soiu were credible in their testimony, but that in their belief, Soiu had never meant to frighten the actress.
The jury subsequently acquited soiu for one count of attempting stalking and another of felony stalking.
Web site TMZ report that the LAPD remain to be convinced of Soiu’s harmlessness. It says the police will meet with prosecutors to find out why the case “went south.”