Photo replay: Blogger Strom arrested yet again for stalking
Let's say you've just had federal agents come by your house. For many, the last thing thing they'd do next is swing by another agent's house and take photos. Yet authorities say that's what Elisha Strom did.
Police portray the red-tressed 35-year-old as an unrepentant stalker who terrorizes men in blue with online musings and photos on her blog. But to Strom, the most recent escapade–- for allegedly stalking an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms–- it's just another bogus charge intended to get her to take down the site, I HeArTE JADE.
The most recent contretemps arose in August when Strom was arrested for allegedly stalking ATF Agent John Stoltz. In his August complaint, Stoltz accuses Strom of stalking him from February 2008 to August 17, 2010. He notes that her website includes photos of him, his car, his license place, and his residence to bolster his allegation.
“Due to Strom’s postings, I fear she or someone viewing the website will locate and kill or harm me and/or my family,” writes Stoltz.
Strom claims she hasn't seen Agent Stoltz since July 2009, but she readily concedes that she took photos of his house in Greene County August 30.
"That was after sending four ATF agents to my house," explains Strom, claiming the ATF was trying to intimidate her.
"She was at the officer's house on the 30th [of August]," said Commonwealth's Attorney Ron Morris. "We think that's an important event in this series of stalking."
The original warrant was dismissed and the new warrant covers a period of August 31, 2009, to August 30, 2010. Defense attorney Adam Rhea objects to the new warrant that was presented in Greene General District Court on October 27, the day Strom was supposed to go to trial for a case that "has been on the docket quite some time," Rhea noted.
"It's an unusual phenomenon in my experience," says Rhea after the hearing. "It's unusual how many times the date on the warrant has been changed."
And Strom objects to being arrested twice for what's basically the same stalking charge.
Although she's a former white supremacist, Strom drew sympathy from the ACLU in 2009 when she was thrown behind bars for a month for publishing the address of another law enforcement officer's house. Even though such information was publicly available from government websites, Virginia law appears to make what she did a Class 6 felony, and the ACLU contends such a law is unconstitutional.
Earlier this year, Delegate Rob Bell successfully pressed a bill through the General Assembly that makes it possible for law enforcement officers to petition the court to have their property records removed from government websites if they feel threatened. What law enforcement hasn't been able to do is quash Strom's website. At least not yet.
On October 25, she writes on I HeArTE JADE that the prosecution offered her a deal: plead guilty to stalking and take down I HeArTE JADE in exchange for a 12-month suspended sentence. If convicted, she faces up to a year in jail.
Strom replies with a deal of her own: If authorities drop the charges, she won’t ridicule them for two weeks.
She'll be in court again on December 1.
Correction 4:30pm November 9: Strom had not been arrested when she took photos of the ATF agent's house August 30.