Court Upholds Stalker Protection for Musician

     (CN) – Country singer Hal Ketchum must be protected for life from a stalker who changed her name to resemble his, a Texas appeals court ruled.
     An afidavit from Ketchum stated that Suzanna Eckchum, formerly Eckhert, has stalked him and his family for 15 years since she met him at a fan event in Colorado.
     According to the musician, Eckchum has followed the Ketchums from Nashville to Austin and two other towns in Texas.
     He added that Eckchum has followed his daughter and taken photos of his home, children and grandchildren.
     After one concert, Ketchum stated, Eckchum made a “shooting motion” with her hand and said that if he “messed with her,” he would be sorry.
     After granting a temporary order, the trial court issued a lifetime stalking protective order.
     As a result, Eckchum is prohibited from going to his concerts or appearing at the venues three hours before and after the shows.
     In addition, Eckchum cannot own a firearm, follow the Ketchums or take photos of them.
     Eckchum appealed, arguing that the evidence does not support the stalking order. But The Third District Texas Court of Appeals disagreed, upholding the order in a July 7 opinion written by Chief Justice Jeff Rose.
     The judge cited Ketchum’s trial testimony, in which he stated that Eckchum had looked through his mail when he lived in Nashville, followed his wife into the restroom at his concerts, and appeared at his daughter’s school despite not having children who attended the school.
     Ketchum’s wife testified that Eckchum’s behavior scared her and caused their daughter to suffer a panic attack.
     Eckchum acknowledged that she changed her last name to a combination of hers and Ketchum’s, but she stated that “chum” also means “friend” and that her last name “means like a life force friend,” according to court records.
     She also admitted that she was told by police and Ketchum’s neighbor in Nashville to leave Ketchum alone.
     Still, she argued that she never harmed the singer.
     “However, the requisite knowledge for the offense of stalking may be inferred when the defendant had been told by law enforcement officers or third parties to leave the victim alone, and an actual assault is unnecessary to prove that stalking occurred,” Rose wrote.
     Eckchum also asserted that she is a reporter and volunteer radio-show host who runs into Ketchum because they “work in the same industry.”
     Rose disagreed.
     “When Nashville police arrived and stopped Eckchum a few houses away from Ketchum’s home, she told them that she worked at a Shoney’s restaurant, not that she was there on any legitimate professional assignment,” he wrote.
     Ketchum released his first album, “Threadbare Alibis,” in 1989. His hits on the country charts include “Small Town Saturday Night” and “I Know Where Love Lies.”
     He has concert dates scheduled for September 2016 and February 2017.

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