Azusa man denies charges in alleged South Whittier stalking, burglary, arson attempt


SOUTH WHITTIER >> An Azusa man accused of violating a restraining order, breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s South Whittier home and trying to set it on fire pleaded not guilty to a string of charges in connection with the alleged crimes.
Joshua Diaz, 28, appeared in Downey Superior Court to answer to charges of burglary with a person present, attempted arson of inhabited structure, stalking and two counts of violating a restraining order, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Though also initially arrested on suspicion of trying to kidnap the former couple’s child, no kidnapping charge was filed Friday.
Diaz showed up the home of his former girlfriend 10700 block of Inez Street early Wednesday morning, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials said. The couple had been separated for about a year.
The woman fled from the home after Diaz grabbed a knife and threatened to kill himself, Ardalani said. Diaz was already gone when deputies arrived at the home.
But he returned about two hours later, doused the woman’s car and air-conditioning unit with gasoline, and tried, unsuccessfully, to light a fire, officials said. Diaz again fled, but was apprehended and arrested Wednesday afternoon.
Diaz is also accused of violating the restraining order on April 25, less than two weeks to the alleged break-in and arson, Ardalani said. “Diaz reportedly went to the victim’s home in violation of the restraining order, tapped on her window and told the victim he loved her,” she said.
Diaz was scheduled to appear in Norwalk Superior Court May 15 for a hearing, Ardalani said. According to county booking records, he was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.

PHOTO of Joshua Diaz: Courtesy

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New book looks at celebrity stalkers

This is the top half of a press release I received this morning. Sounds like a Christmas gift in the making:

Rhonda Saunders is the preeminent stalking expert in the country–the prosecutor for Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Steven Spielberg, and countless other celebrity stalking cases. She has been a criminal prosecutor for 24 years and established S.T.A.T. (Stalking and Threat Assessment Team) for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and the L.A. Stalking Task Force.
Rhonda’s new book, out in November, is called: WHISPER OF FEAR: The True Story of the Prosecutor Who Stalks the Stalkers. Publishers Weekly calls it, “…an illuminating guide, complete with legal remedies and possible precautions.”

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