OBSESSED: The Stalking of Theresa Saldana by

OBSESSED: The Stalking of Theresa Saldana

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This case history of a celebrity stalker stays afloat because of the violence of the assault on actress Saldana (The Commish), her terror at being the centerpiece of a schizophrenic's delusionary system, and the fascinating and sometimes lyrical diary of the attacker. California forensic psychiatrist Ronald Markman (Alone with the Devil, 1989) and true-crime writer Ron LaBrecque (Special Effects, 1988) reconstruct the story with the help of interviews with lawyers, police, and court officials. On March 15, 1982, Scotsman Arthur Jackson waited outside Saldana's West Hollywood home and stabbed her so hard that his cheap Korean steak knife bent when it struck her bones. He stabbed her so many times that she required a transfusion of 26 pints of blood. He stabbed her chest, he wrote, ""because it would be ungentlemanly to stab a lady in the back."" Although everyone who met Jackson acknowledged that he was disturbed and dangerous, he was tried as a criminal and sentenced to 15 years in prison, with possible parole after seven years. Markman, who interviewed Jackson and testified in his defense, and LaBrecque argue that society would be best served if doctors, and not lawyers, decided the fate of the violently insane. (As a boy in Aberdeen, in fact, Jackson had committed himself voluntarily and was subjected to more than 50 insulin-induced comas in five months, along with electroshock therapy.) The authors give a short course in schizophrenia and forensic psychiatry. But even with the constant psychiatric comment, the book takes off with Jackson's grueling pilgrimage across America to find Saldana (""the countess of heaven in my heart and the angel of America in my dreams""). A story of madness and unrequited love, with an energy that pushes through its institutional narration.

Pub Date: April 25th, 1994
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Morrow