Actress Theresa Saldana testified Tuesday she was terrified that the man who nearly killed her in 1982 could carry out his alleged death threats because he had befriended criminals who could harm her.
Arthur Jackson, 55, a Scottish drifter, is charged with five felony counts of threatening a victim of a crime for allegedly sending seven letters to Saldana in March, 1988, threatening to kill her if she did not meet certain demands by a specified deadline.
“The most frightening aspect about them (the threats) is that for the first time since this (attempted murder) happened, he (Jackson) stated he had other people in place to murder me,” testified Saldana, wearing her signature chiffon scarf tied in a bow at the top of her head to keep her long, dark hair off her face.
Jackson was convicted in 1983 and sentenced to 12 years in prison for stabbing Saldana with a five-inch knife outside her West Hollywood apartment on March 15, 1982. He was parolled earlier this year but never released from custody because of the new charges stemming from the letters.
Jackson could be sentenced to 10 years in prison if convicted of all counts stemming from the letters.
During cross-examination, public defender Norman Kava asked Saldana why, if she knew that Jackson would not be released from prison at the end of his sentence in 1988 because he faced a murder charge in England, she believed he could kill her.
“I believe someone who stabs someone 10 times is capable of being in contact with terrorist organizations,” replied Saldana, who has appeared in “Raging Bull” and in an autobiographical television film.
She also said she believed that he could carry out his threats because he had referred in letters to “friendships with criminals and murderers.”
Under questioning from Deputy Dist. Atty. Susan Gruber, Saldana noted that Jackson knew the address of her family and said: “I felt my life was in grave danger and the safety of my family was in danger.
“I also watched my family’s reaction (to the letters) and my father’s death within a few weeks of his having seen the letters.”
Saldana, who was near tears but unusually composed compared with previous court appearances, said Jackson’s letters were delivered to a British reporter who gave them to a producer who delivered them to a security consultant she hired.
“I remember it (one of the letters) saying that he swore on the ashes of his dead mother and the scars of Theresa Saldana that he would complete his divine mission of killing me, and that he discussed better ways of killing me so he wouldn’t fail the next time,” Saldana said.
She said the letters terrified her to the point of causing her insomnia, nightmares, numb feet and hands, and required her to be hospitalized for 5 1/2 weeks. She said she then had to return to the psychiatric therapy she underwent after the 1982 attack.