NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Ashanti's alleged stalker, would-be rapper Devar Hurd, stands accused of sending crude and creepy text messages to the R&B star's mother, but a New York juror on the case hopes Hurd will walk free and get the help he needs.
During his New York City trial last week, Devar Hurd told jurors he was just "sex texting" and joking when he sent lewd remarks, graphic photos and a picture of the family home to the cell phone of Ashanti's mother, Tina Douglas.
As deliberations began yesterday, an alternate juror in the case told the New York Post that Hurd "clearly seemed delusional."
The juror, who was released from the panel last night (and asked not to be identified), told the paper that he hopes that there is no conviction because Hurd "didn't have the intent that the law requires."
Hurd, a sometime model and former car salesman from Griffith, Ind., says the multiplatinum-selling singer's family was planning to do an unspecified business deal with him.
He is charged with stalking and harassment.
Ashanti's mother testified Hurd was a stranger who bombarded her with disgusting messages, though she told him to stop. He says she didn't.
Hurd also attached photos of male genitals to some of the more than 30 rambling text messages, Douglas said.
Defense attorney Richard Verchick said Hurd was misunderstood.
"Sending pictures and texts is not crime," he said. "The intent was never to harass Tina or Ashanti. ... What he wanted was what we all want in life - love."
Douglas, who manages her daughter, testified that she "freaked out" and pulled her daughter out of a rehearsal of "The Wiz" after receiving a text that mentioned seeing Ashanti's car as it arrived at the theater. Ashanti starred as Dorothy in an off-Broadway revival of the musical this summer.
"I was afraid this person could have been in New York," she said. "I wanted to protect my daughter."
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December 21, 2009 - Ashanti Stalker Case: Wanna-Be Rapper Devar Hurd Says He Was Just "Sex Texting"
December 10, 2009 - Ashanti Stalker Sent Lewd Messages to Singer's Mom, Say Cops