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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pam Bondi faces accused stalker in court

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, center, fixes her eyes on her alleged stalker, William Norman Wilkes, at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in downtown Tampa on Wednesday. He has peeked through the windows of her Tampa home and sent unsolicited text messages expressing his appreciation for her "physical attributes," according to Bondi.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, center, fixes her eyes on her alleged stalker, William Norman Wilkes, at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in downtown Tampa on Wednesday. He has peeked through the windows of her Tampa home and sent unsolicited text messages expressing his appreciation for her "physical attributes," according to Bondi.

Attorney General Pam Bondi appeared in a Tampa courtroom Wednesday morning, recounting for a judge the fear and frustration she felt after a man twice showed up uninvited to her Tampa home and later sent her unsolicited text messages.

When William Norman Wilkes first banged on her door at 3 one morning, Bondi said she thought he was a different stalker she has dealt with — a man from another state who thinks she can remove a chip from his brain.

“When I called 911, I said, 'My stalker is trying to get in the house,’” Bondi said, “because I thought he was someone else at the time.”

But Bondi, flanked in court by statewide prosecutors Nick Cox and Rita Peters, said she didn’t know Wilkes. She said he showed up twice at her home and later sent her text messages expressing appreciation for her “physical attributes.” She has since learned that they attended the same high school.

In court, Bondi offered more details about the incidents. The first was March 19, when he showed up at 3 a.m., banged on the front door and tapped on a window.

“He was agitating my dog,” Bondi said. “My dog in fact tore down my wooden blinds, which has never happened.”

Before approaching, Wilkes had taken off a flannel shirt, folded it neatly and left it near a street corner, Bondi said.

She did not answer the door, and video surveillance captured Wilkes walking back to the street and picking up the shirt. He showed up again a couple of weeks later and was stopped by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper on a security detail for the attorney general. Wilkes was taken into custody under the state’s Baker Act, which allows people to be involuntarily detained if they are deemed a threat to themselves or others.

After Wednesday’s hearing, Bondi said Wilkes was taken to a mental health center in Tampa. He was cleared to leave days later, before he began sending text messages to Bondi through Facebook Messenger.

“The system failed me and it failed him,” Bondi said.

Seated in court in restraints and an orange jail suit, Wilkes agreed to stay away from Bondi.

“If she don’t want to see me, I don’t want to see her,” Wilkes said.

Senior Judge Christine Vogel granted Bondi’s request for an order keeping Wilkes out of all places the attorney general frequents.

Wilkes remains jailed without bail on several charges, including stalking.

More here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 10:34am]

    

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