Sept. 29, 2004
A woman accused of stalking actress Catherine Zeta-Jones pleaded not guilty Wednesday, two weeks after a judge ruled she was competent to stand trial.
Dawnette Knight, 33, entered the pleas at an arraignment on one count of stalking and 24 counts of making criminal threats. If convicted, she could face up to 19 years in prison.
The charges stem from more than two dozen letters she allegedly wrote, some sent to actor Michael Douglas, the husband of Zeta-Jones. One letter read: "We are going to slice her up like meat on a bone and feed her to the dogs."
Knight allegedly apologized in another letter, claiming she had been in love with Douglas.
Defense attorney Richard Herman said at a press conference that Knight is not a threat and faces criminal charges only because the case involves celebrities.
"I'm afraid that we've gone much too far in something that's just greatly overblown," he said. "It is my hope that justice will be done, and I'm confident that justice will be done."
Deputy District Attorney Debra Archuleta declined to comment on the case.
Knight remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail. Superior Court Judge David Mintz scheduled the trial to begin Nov. 10.
photo credit and caption:
Dawnette Knight, charged with making criminal threats against actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, appears in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2004. Knight, charged with one felony count of stalking and 24 felony counts of making criminal threats, has pleaded innocent to the charges. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
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