Man Sentenced to 4-Year Term in Stalking Case : Crime: Jon Van Demark becomes the county’s first person convicted by a jury under the state’s stalking law. He professes continued love for ex-girlfriend as he is removed from courtroom.


The first person in Orange County to be convicted by a jury under the state’s stalking law was sentenced to a maximum four years in prison Friday following an emotionally charged hearing in which he declared his continuing love for his ex-girlfriend.

Superior Court Judge William R. Froeberg ordered that Jon Van Demark, 25, of Long Beach be tested to determine if he should serve his sentence in a state mental hospital. The judge also ordered Van Demark to make absolutely no contact with the victim, Kendra Brown, for 10 years.

Van Demark, hands in shackles, yelled out to his mother in the courtroom at the end of the hearing before struggling with bailiffs who moved him back to a holding cell.


Earlier, in an emotional, sometimes angry statement to the judge, Van Demark apologized to Brown for any “trouble, embarrassment and humiliation” he may have caused. The woman was not in the courtroom.

“I don’t know why, but I still love you,” he said, breaking down in sobs as he read from a lengthy letter, printed in small lettering.

Van Demark said he has tried to stop his love, “but it seems the more I try, the closer to you I become.”

He started the letter by criticizing the prosecutor, a Huntington Beach police detective and county jail staff for the treatment he was accorded, saying that a felony conviction and prison time in a state hospital was not going to help him.

“You have only added more fuel to the fire,” he said, reading from a section of the letter directed to Deputy Dist. Atty. Jane Shade.

Investigators say Van Demark, who attended high school in Fullerton and last worked as a truck driver, sent hundreds of letters and made hundreds of calls, some threatening, to Brown after the breakup of their eight-year relationship. He was also accused of vandalizing her car numerous times, following her and harassing her friends and family.


She went to court and gained a three-year restraining order in July, 1993, to try and keep him away--to no avail, according to court records.

Defense attorney Chris Jensen told the judge that Van Demark has “never shown any violence at all” and has never harmed the woman physically. Jensen said it appears that Van Demark is being punished for something he may do, instead of something he has actually done.

But Judge Froeberg said Van Demark has caused great “emotional injury” and has shown no remorse or any sign of staying away from his ex-girlfriend.

“There is a small step from piercing tires to piercing skin,” Froeberg said.

Since his arrest in mid-January, Van Demark sent Brown more than 200 letters, according to a sentencing report prepared by the Orange County Probation Department.

“You’re stuck with me forever,” he wrote in one. “The court system will not solve our problems, just put them on hold until I get out,” he wrote in another, according to the report.

Outside the courtroom, the prosecutor said Van Demark’s “irrational” and “obsessive” behavior during the hearing reinforced her contention that he’s a “danger to society.” Shade said she remains worried about Brown and hopes Van Demark gets effective treatment at a state hospital.


“It’s really the only thing we can do,” she said.

Brown submitted a written statement to the court expressing her fears of Van Demark and urging the maximum sentence and state hospital treatment.

The defendant’s mother, Bonnie Van Demark, said her son has been punished unfairly and expressed doubt that a state hospital will help him at all. Her son had asked for a probation sentence that would include counseling.

“He’s losing it,” Bonnie Van Demark said. “I’m very scared. I don’t know what’s going to happen to him.”