A prosecutor told jurors Thursday that the man charged with stalking model Kendall Jenner ventured across the country, figured out the location of her residence, staked out the condominium building where she lived and repeatedly approached her even after she took measures to avoid him.
In his closing argument, Deputy City Attorney Alex T. Perez urged the seven-woman, five-man jury to convict Shavaughn McKenzie of one misdemeanor count each of stalking the 20-year-old reality TV personality and of trespassing at her Hollywood Hills property within weeks of her moving from a Westwood condominium.
The prosecutor told jurors the 25-year-old man knew from Jenner’s reactions that she was “afraid of him” and that he “still makes contact again and again and again.”
McKenzie was arrested Aug. 14 after allegedly approaching Jenner as she waited for the 13-foot-tall gate to her property to close after she drove through.
Jenner — who has appeared on her family’s reality TV show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” — identified McKenzie in court Oct. 13 as the man who has “been following me for a couple of years” and said she had “never been so scared in my life” after being approached by him in her driveway. She testified that she initially asked him nicely twice to leave, then screamed at him another six or seven times to leave.
“I was crying, I was screaming, I was freaking out,” Jenner testified. “I didn’t know what his intentions were. I was freaking out. I was frightened for sure.”
She said McKenzie had previously approached her car outside the Westwood condominium complex, including one incident where she swerved out of the way as he ran up toward her and another incident where he approached her vehicle as she waited at a red light and then approached her again after she turned right and then made a U-turn to try to elude him.
The prosecutor noted that the jury had heard evidence that McKenzie is “mentally disturbed,” saying that the man who had lived in Georgia and Florida had a “single-minded focus” on Jenner, and that he had made “remarkable” progress toward his goal of meeting her.
Perez said the defendant was “able to find out the victim’s precise address,” telling jurors that it was “probably pretty difficult” and that it’s “not posted on a billboard somewhere.” He said McKenzie managed to figure out Jenner’s schedule despite being homeless and living on the streets and to become a fixture outside her condominium complex when she was in town.
“He can think and plan … and succeed,” the prosecutor said.
The deputy city attorney described McKenzie as being “clever,” saying he waited two to three houses down from where Jenner lived to wait for her because he knew from his past encounters with her that she was going to try to avoid him if she saw him outside her gate the night he was arrested.
“He’s hitting the window … and insisting that she speak with him,” Perez told jurors, noting that a family friend who was speaking on the phone with Jenner could hear what was happening. “He knew the victim was afraid of him.”
Jenner was too afraid to sleep in her own home for three days after the run-in with McKenzie, the prosecutor said.
Jurors are expected to hear Monday from McKenzie’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Taylor J. Shramo, who told reporters outside court that the case is not about stalking or trespassing but about a “criminalization of mental illness.” He said he is focused on ensuring that his client “gets the defense he deserves and the treatment he needs.”
Psychologist Jasmine Tehrani testified Wednesday that she diagnosed McKenzie with an “unspecified psychotic disorder” after meeting with him twice behind bars and reviewing his earlier mental health records. She told jurors that she did not see any evidence of violent tendencies or aggression exhibited by him, and said that documents she reviewed from his arrest indicated that he had something important to tell Jenner about the election.
“He doesn’t recognize that his mere presence … is going to cause her concern or is going to startle her,” said Tehrani, who was appointed on behalf of the defense.
McKenzie has remained behind bars since his August arrest.
—City News Service