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TMCNet:  Woman killed near UCF had told judge man was stalking her

[February 10, 2010]

Woman killed near UCF had told judge man was stalking her

Feb 10, 2010 (The Orlando Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A week before she died, Alissa Blanton tried to get an order of protection against a 61-year-old man she accused of bombarding her with profane e-mails, sitting outside her home and following her to her job in Orlando.


The 23-year-old newlywed from Cocoa was gunned down Monday at a business park near the University of Central Florida -- a place she hoped a Brevard County judge would make off-limits to the man she said had been tormenting her for two years.

Blanton's mother confirmed Tuesday that her daughter was the woman shot outside the AT&T Wireless Call Center where she worked. Orange County sheriff's investigators later confirmed that Blanton's killer was Roger Troy of Cocoa Beach, the same man she said had showed up at her home, followed her to the beach and confronted her outside her workplace.

The killer fatally shot himself after shooting the woman at least twice.

According to Blanton, her stalker's obsession began in 2008, when she was waiting tables at Hooters Restaurant on Merritt Island. In a 72-page petition for an order of protection that she presented at an emergency hearing Feb. 1, she said he owned several guns.

The man "started harassing e-mails when I stopped working at Hooters and talking to him," she wrote. "He states several times ... how he has seen me in Orlando. He describes how I look (like that I gained weight and cut my hair). He once came to my work at AT&T Call Center in Orlando and blocked me in my car." Such details failed to convince Brevard Circuit Judge Dean Moxley, who denied Blanton's request for an emergency injunction.

In an interview Tuesday, Moxley told the Orlando Sentinel he could not determine from her petition whether Troy's actions met the legal definition of stalking. He set a hearing for Feb. 16 so that he or another judge could question her further to make sure, he said.

"As a judge, you have to follow the law. You're not omniscient," Moxley said. "God bless her soul." The shooting happened shortly after 1 p.m. Monday when Blanton and her husband, Brent, a fellow AT&T employee, returned from lunch. They parted and headed toward separate entrances to the large building on Research Parkway, the victim's mother, Connie Hassell of Festus, Mo., told the Sentinel.

Blanton called her husband on his cell phone when her attacker approached, Hassell said. Brent rushed to his wife of six months and found her on the ground. He started cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but it wasn't enough to save her.

"He was able to tell her that he loved her," Hassell said.

In emergency-dispatch recordings released by the Sheriff's Office, witnesses describe ducking for cover in their cars and office buildings after seeing a man walk up to a woman in the parking lot and shoot her.

During one portion of the recording, a man thought to be Brent Blanton can be heard wailing.

"Alissa, I love you. I love you," he said. He cried out that they had a restraining order against the attacker and shouted for the ambulance.

Word of her daughter's death came as Hassell prepared to go home from her job as a school secretary. Her cell phone rang. It was her ex-husband Mark Goedecke calling from the hospital.

"Ali has been shot in the jaw," he said. Hassell said she thought it was a joke, but she could hear a doctor talking in the background.

"Then I heard him say they couldn't revive her," Hassell said.

Blanton grew up in a small town in eastern Missouri about 40 miles south of St. Louis. Hassell said she raised her daughter to be a sweet woman.

"I just always taught her to be nice to people, even people you don't know. It doesn't hurt to smile at somebody, especially if they're having a bad day," Hassell said.

Blanton spent her high-school summers in Brevard County visiting her father, her mother said. She loved the beach and moved to the Cocoa area two years ago, where she attended Brevard Community College with the hope of becoming a teacher.

The Merritt Island school where Blanton worked closed during the summer in 2008, so she found a job at Hooters to make ends meet before she joined AT&T.

Blanton never told her mother there was trouble at the restaurant, but after the shooting, relatives told Hassell that was where her daughter met the man who would become her killer. He was a regular and kept trying to touch her, according to Blanton's petition.

Troy owned a mail-order business and had moved from Ohio to Cocoa Beach in 2001. Attempts to reach a relative with whom he bought property last November in North Carolina were unsuccessful Tuesday.

In her petition, Blanton said she gave Troy her e-mail address after he badgered her for her phone number. Copies of the businessman's e-mails to Blanton contained angry rants about her Aug. 15 marriage.

"I know you hate me for pressing you to be honest -- but I have a question -- What in the Hell is wrong with you?" he wrote on Nov. 7, 2009. "That's all I am going to say and know as always I will not get an answer -- my payment for caring about a young woman and how she screwed up her life." Batterers and stalkers are most dangerous when they are suicidal, said Carol Wick, the chief executive officer of the domestic-violence shelter Harbor House. Obtaining injunctions against stalkers is often hard to do without the proper documentation, she said.

"Once they've made up their mind to die, a piece of paper is not going to make a difference," Wick said.

Troy, who had a concealed-weapons permit, shot Blanton several times before shooting himself in the head, according to the Sheriff's Office and Orange County Fire Rescue.

His body lay in the parking lot for more than one hour covered by a yellow tarp after paramedics rushed Blanton to Florida Hospital East. She died late Monday.

Bianca Prieto of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report. Henry Pierson Curtis can be reached at 407-420-5257 or hcurtis@orlandosentinel.com. Willoughby Mariano can be reached at 407-420-5171 or wmariano@orlandosentinel.com.

To see more of The Orlando Sentinel or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.OrlandoSentinel.com. Copyright (c) 2010, The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.

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