Alleged Halle Berry stalker charged in break-in at her home
Richard Anthony Franco, 27, was charged with burglarizing Berry's home July 10, the second of three days in a row that Franco was allegedly seen by Berry or her security staff on the property.
On Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty to felony stalking in connection with the incidents that the actress said made her fear for her life.
Franco was arrested July 11 after neighbors reported a possible burglar, police said. He was already on probation for misdemeanor battery. He faces up to three years in state prison if convicted of stalking.
But with the new burglary charge, he could face up to another six years.
Berry detailed in civil court papers the three incidents.
“This person has invaded and trampled upon the most fundamental sense of security I have.... I am extremely frightened," Berry said in court papers. “He has terrorized me and my family."
The series of alleged incidents began July 9 when the actress was standing in her kitchen with her manager and saw a stranger in her backyard carrying something and approaching the house, court records show.
She “screamed there is a guy in my yard,” according to the court filing.
Berry said the manager yelled, “If I had a gun I would shoot you!” Berry and the manager then watched on a security monitor as the man scaled a fence around the property and walked away, according to the filing.
Franco returned shortly before 5 p.m. July 10, the document stated.
Berry said she 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.
“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 said. “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."
Reacting to the incidents, Berry hired a team of armed security officers to guard her home around the clock.
At about 10 p.m. July 11, she was alone with her 3-year-old daughter when the security team alerted her 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: Los Angeles Times.