Alleged Halle Berry stalker charged with felony
A convicted felon arrested after he was caught for a third time at the home of Halle Berry was charged Wednesday with felony stalking in a series of incidents that the actress said made her fear for her life.
Richard Anthony Franco, 27, was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday, said Deputy L.A. County Dist. Atty. Wendy Segall of the Target Crimes Unit.
He was being held on $150,000 bail. Franco was charged with one felony count of stalking for allegedly showing up at Berry's Hollywood Hills home on repeated occasions.
He was arrested about 11:15 p.m. Monday after neighbors reported a possible burglar, police said. Franco is on probation after pleading no contest in June to a misdemeanor battery charge and is facing up to three years in state prison if convicted.
Berry detailed in civil court papers three incidents of an alleged stalker tresspassing on her property over the last few days. Berry's statements were made in a court filing seeking a temporary restraining order against Franco.
The series of incidents began Saturday when the actress was standing in her kitchen with her manager and looked out to her gated backyard to see a complete stranger carrying something in his hand and approaching the house, court records show.
She was in immediate fear as she saw him coming toward her and “screamed there is a guy in my yard,” according to the court filing.
Her manager stepped outside and confronted the man -- later identified as Franco -- who tried to ask for someone named Santiago. Berry said she did not know anyone by that name and “felt in extreme danger at that moment,” according to the filing.
Her manager yelled, “If I had a gun I would shoot you.”
They then went inside and watched on a security monitor as the man scaled a fence around the property and walked away. Franco returned shortly before 5 p.m. Sunday, the filing said.
Berry went out to her garage/salon and left the key in the door as she usually does. She was inside for 10 minutes when she stepped back into the kitchen for a cold drink.
When “all of a sudden I sensed someone behind me and turned to see the same intruder standing less than a foot behind me, staring at me through the glass kitchen door,” Berry stated.
“Panicking and in fear of my life, I turned my body and quickly hit the deadbolt lock on the glass door,” she stated. “I grabbed my phone and ran as fast as I could upstairs, slamming each door behind me as I ran. I got upstairs to a safe place, locked myself inside and dialed 911."
About six or seven minutes later, LAPD officers appeared but the intruder had fled. When the security footage was reviewed, Berry said he could be seen hiding in the bushes as she entered the garage.
Reacting to the incidents, Berry hired a team of 24-hour armed security officers. About 10 p.m. Monday, she was alone with her 3-year-old daughter when the security team alerted her via radio to “get to safety as quickly as possible with my daughter and stay there,” according to the filing.
A few minutes later, Franco was apprehended.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Halle Berry. Credit: Charley Gallay / Getty Image