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Press Association
Thu 9 Sep 2004
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3:47am (UK)
Zeta-Jones 'Stalker' Back in Court

By Mark Sage, PA News, in New York

A woman accused of threatening to kill movie star Catherine Zeta-Jones and “feed her to the dogs” is back in court today after a judge ruled she was fit to stand trial.

A preliminary hearing will resume against Dawnette Knight after the ruling in Los Angeles yesterday.

The case was adjourned in July after Knight, 33, took an overdose, hours after Zeta Jones and her husband Michael Douglas gave evidence against her.

The latest ruling by Judge John Riley, following an examination by a psychologist, means Knight is fit to stand trial.

The continuing preliminary hearing will decide if she actually does go before a jury.

Unemployed Knight was arrested on June 3 at her Beverly Hills apartment.

She is charged with one count of stalking and 24 counts of making criminal threats.

If convicted, she could face up to 19 years in prison.

A day before Knight overdosed on barbiturates, in July, Chicago star Zeta-Jones appeared before the court to tell of Knight’s alleged reign of terror.

She said she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown as a result of the “satanic” threats.

“I’ve never in my life had anything or had anyone say anything to me so satanic,” said Zeta-Jones, 34, in the pre-trial hearing.

“This will affect me for the rest of my life.”

One of the letters threatened to have Zeta-Jones “shredded to pieces” and another vowed to cut her up “like meat on a bone and feed her to the dogs“.

Another letter included an invitation to Zeta-Jones’s funeral.

Others referred to the violent deaths of President John F Kennedy and OJ Simpson’s wife Nicole Brown Simpson.

It is alleged that Knight made the threats over an 18-month period because she was obsessed with Zeta-Jones’s 59-year-old film star husband.

Knight, who is in custody on £550,000 bail, is engaged and wants to be a child psychologist.

She has already apologised for making the threats.

In a letter sent last month, she said she was a “confused young woman“, obsessed with Douglas.

Knight’s lawyer, Richard Herman, said after yesterday’s hearing that his client had simply needed a rest before the court proceedings could continue.

“Time changes a lot of things. She basically needed a break so that she could compose herself and be able to assist me,” he said outside court.

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