Ashanti Stalker Gets 2 Years at Rikers

Friday, Feb 19, 2010  |  Updated 8:28 AM EDT
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No need to be frightened now, Ashanti.

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The Indiana man convicted of assaulting R&B star Ashanti with tawdry text messages and cell phone pictures has been sentenced to two years at Rikers.

Devar Hurd sent nearly three dozen lurid, distressing messages to the singer and her mother, calling the posts "sex texting" and saying they were meant "for the ladies." The recipients considered them vile.

"Mr. Hurd, I realize you don't want to hear this, but it's obvious to me that you need to get help," Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber said as he handed down the maximum punishment for misdemeanor stalking and harassment on Thursday.

Ashanti's mother, Tina Douglas, personally told jurors she was "terrified" by the messages and feared for her daughter's safety.

Hurd, who has been diagnosed with delusional disorder, said he wanted to meet Ashanti after the two made eye contact at a 2003 concert in Chicago. He's been locked up at Rikers since his July arrest for flooding Douglas' cell phone with pornographic pictures apparently meant for Ashanti.

Farber begrudgingly handed down the harsh sentence, having preferred to put the 31-year-old Hurd on probation and require him to undergo treatment for mental illness. But the judge said Hurd's family recently moved to Illinois, and it wouldn't have been possible to work out a probation sentence with that state, according to the Daily News

Lead prosecutor Carol Holderness argued that Hurd purposely frightened his victims and therefore deserved to be in a cell.

"Even if he believed that Ashanti was in love with him, his conduct was not that of a man wooing a woman," Holderness said. "It's not like he was sending her flowers."

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