Johnson shown weapons found in car

Updated: June 10, 2010, 6:18 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson voice cracked Thursday as a prosecutor showed her a knife found in the car of a man accused of stalking her.

Johnson, however, was mostly composed as she testified against Robert O'Ryan, who is accused of breaking onto a studio lot to meet the gold medalist as she competed on the ABC show "Dancing With the Stars."

"I didn't know him," Johnson said. "He was a stranger to me. To see somebody had that much kind of obsession, it made me really scared."

He was a stranger to me. To see somebody had that much kind of obsession, it made me really scared.

-- Shawn Johnson

Prosecutor Wendy Segall also showed the 18-year-old Johnson a handgun, shotgun and bulletproof vest allegedly found in O'Ryan's car during his March arrest.

Prosecutors said O'Ryan, 36, harbored a dangerous obsession for Johnson, then 17, and traveled from Florida to Los Angeles with the hope of meeting and marrying her.

O'Ryan has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to felony stalking and burglary charges. He sat quietly and showed no reaction during the 23 minutes Johnson spent on the witness stand.

Prosecutors rested their case Thursday afternoon after three days of testimony and evidence. A judge then rejected a motion by O'Ryan's attorney to dismiss the case.

Assistant Public Defender Judith Greenberg argued prosecutors failed to prove O'Ryan had any criminal intent by showing up at the studio wearing a top hat, coat and tie. He had left his car, and the weapons in the car, at a parking lot adjacent to the studios.

"All the circumstantial evidence is consistent with someone who did not have any evil intent toward Shawn Johnson or her family," Greenberg said.

Segall argued that O'Ryan lied to an Alabama police office who stopped him on his cross-country trek about not having any weapons, even though he had the handgun in a hollowed-out book under his front seat.

"The defendant is dangerous, he's manipulative and he's deceitful," Segall said.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor agreed.

"In this case the situation is chilling and its disarming and it demonstrates to me the existence of a credible threat," Pastor said.

Earlier Thursday, Johnson recounted being informed of O'Ryan's presence at the studio after she performed on "Dancing With the Stars." Police and her parents told her the man had been armed and she needed a bodyguard.

"They didn't want to tell me too much to scare me, but of course it did," Johnson said.

Johnson calmly answered questions posed by Segall and Greenberg, saying she was nervous about appearing in court.

Segall asked Johnson about poems O'Ryan allegedly wrote about the athlete, some of which had her name hyphenated with O'Ryan's.

One of the poems, shown in court Tuesday, professed unwavering love for Johnson.

"I feel quite lucky," the poem read, "that we fight happy, I want everything to go your way, and this is how I pray, that we will be together to stay .... and no matter what you do, I will always love you."

Authorities said they found numerous other writings addressed to Johnson and gifts for her and her family in O'Ryan's car. Prosecutors also say they found a piece of a paper with an Iowa address for a person named Shawn Johnson, but it was not the gymnast's address.

Johnson said she considered resigning from "Dancing With the Stars" and moving back to Iowa after O'Ryan's arrest. However, she stayed on the show and eventually won her season.

Johnson won a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

O'Ryan has been jailed since he was arrested for investigation of jumping a fence at the studio lot.

He could face up to four years in prison if convicted. He could also face two years in jail if he is convicted of two misdemeanor concealed weapons violations.

If O'Ryan is convicted, a judge will then determine whether he is legally insane. Greenberg, said in opening statements that O'Ryan was a well-educated engineer before he developed a mental illness several years ago.

In a tape of an interview with police played in court Thursday, O'Ryan asks a detective whether he believes in ESP. O'Ryan told the officer he used ESP to communicate with numerous people on television, including rappers Ludacris and Lil Jon and some daytime soap opera stars.

O'Ryan said he started communicating with Johnson telepathically when she competed in the Beijing Olympics.

O'Ryan has waived his right to a jury trial and his fate will be decided by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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