A Virginia man who stalked his ex-girlfriend to South Carolina and was caught trying to break into her apartment will spend five years in prison, prosecutors said.
Jonathan Daniel James, 47, pleaded guilty late Thursday in York County criminal court to stalking, according to court records. James also pleaded guilty under an Alford plea, where he accepts the punishment of guilt without admitting guilt, to an attempted burglary charge in connection to the May incident, court records show.
James was caught trying to break into his ex’s apartment off S.C. 160 in Fort Mill in May, said Jenny Desch, 16th Circuit assistant solicitor.
James had driven to South Carolina in March and acknowledged that he was warned by law enforcement in April to stay away, Desch said. Yet James came back to York County in May, Desch said.
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James was seen by a witness May 6 outside the victim’s apartment door with a weapon prosecutors said was for breaking into the door’s deadbolt, Desch said. He was interrupted and left the scene, then changed clothes and returned hours later, Desch said.
When James returned an off-duty S.C. Highway Patrol officer at the apartment complex detained James before James was arrested by York County Sheriff’s Office deputies. James was identified by the victim and a witness, Desch said.
In James’ rented vehicle York County Sheriff’s Office deputies found a BB gun, a hammer and other items, officials said.
Desch asked visiting Circuit Court Judge Michael Nettles to sentence James to 12 years in prison. But James’ lawyer, Michael Brown, asked for probation because Brown said medical evidence showed James was not going to re-offend.
“I am disappointed in the result considering the fact that the only medical evidence presented showed that he was not a serial stalker,” Brown said.