A judge ruled Monday that a man charged with stalking Halle Berry should stand trial on two charges filed after he was repeatedly seen on the actress’ property earlier this year. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Melissa Widdifield issued her ruling after hearing from two witnesses called during a preliminary hearing to show some of evidence against Richard A. Franco, who has pleaded not guilty to burglary and stalking charges. He was charged after police arrested him outside Berry’s home in July after he was seen on the property three times in three days.
Los Angeles police detective John Gregozek testified that when Franco was caught, he was carrying a key to Berry’s guesthouse, where the Oscar-winning actress has her beauty salon and some of her wardrobe. Gregozek said Franco apparently obtained the key on July 10, when he entered the house for about 20 seconds after Berry left the salon area to go to her kitchen. Franco was standing outside her kitchen door when Berry spotted him and locked the door and called police.
Berry did not attend the hearing, but Gregozek told the judge the actress is still afraid of Franco. The following night, after Berry had hired private security, Franco was seen climbing over the actress’ gate and coming onto her property. Joseph Vach, a retired California Highway Patrol officer, was working as private security and helped detain Franco. The man was carrying a notebook that included references to Berry and entering her home, Vach testified.
Franco, who was dressed in a jail jumpsuit, will remain jailed on $150,000 bail, Widdifield ruled. He returns to court on Oct. 31 for arraignment.
Berry obtained a civil restraining order against Franco after his arrest. “This person has invaded and trampled upon the most fundamental sense of security I have, and I am extremely frightened of him and what he might do to me or those I love,” she wrote in her July petition.