A man who's already been convicted once for stalking Ashanti's mother is on trial yet again, this time for harassing the singer and her sister in a variety of terrifying and creepy ways. This time he's representing himself, meaning that on Tuesday he got to cross-examine the object of his obsession and her family members.
Devar Hurd, now 36, was convicted in 2009 of stalking Ashanti's mom, Tina Douglas. The stalking began around 2006, when he started sending her explicit photos, text messages, and voicemails. In many of them he reportedly fantasized at length about having sex with Ashanti, telling Douglas, "I'm going to marry her. She's going to have my babies." He was sentenced to two years in prison
Prosecutors allege that the stalking began anew after he got out of jail, with Hurd using Twitter and Instagram to harass Ashanti and her sister Kenashia Douglas in violation of a no-contact order. According to the New York Times, Hurd first tried to argue that Ashanti probably didn't even notice his messages, given that she has over a million Twitter followers, then told her she could have just blocked him if the messages upset her.
Ashanti testified she didn't realize Hurd had been sending her and her family messages until July of 2013, when she and her sister were talking at their mother's birthday. From the Times:
Earlier that month a fan spotted Mr. Hurd in the photo taken with Ms. Douglas at a charity event, then posted it online. Mr. Hurd himself later reposted the photo on one of his Twitter accounts, with a caption saying, "Yeah that's me the falsely accused stalker."
Once she learned of Mr. Hurd's aliases, Ashanti said, she searched her Twitter accounts and found dozens of his messages, some of them describing lewd acts he wanted to perform.
"It made me feel very uncomfortable," she testified. "It makes me very nervous and scared. It just doesn't seem like a normal person."
Hurd was also facing charges of aggravated harassment, which a judge dismissed in May on the grounds that the charge was unconstitutionally vague. The Daily News reports that Hurd "babbled" and "struggled to ask coherent questions" during the trial as Ashanti looked "bored and agitated." Court records show that Hurd is also suing a warden at Rikers Island, where he's currently incarcerated.
Image via AP