Man accused of stalking Lawrence family held on bail
05:00 AM, May 17, 2013
LOUISVILLE — A Chinese-born Canadian citizen is being held on $100,000 bail in the Jefferson County Jail after he was charged with allegedly stalking and harassing the family of Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence.
Han Cong Zhao, a 23-year-old former university student from Vancouver, allegedly contacted Lawrence’s brother more than 200 times from Canada before he flew to Louisville April 18 and left a threatening message on his voice mail.
Zhao went to the Indian Hills Police Department the same day and asked Chief Kelly Spratt how he could contact Lawrence’s parents, according to a criminal complaint. He allegedly continued to try to contact Lawrence’s brother, Blaine, when Zhao was involuntarily held for about three weeks at Central State Hospital, according to a criminal complaint.
Prosecutors say Zhao left a voice mail for Blaine, saying: “I find you or you come to me. You got me really upset, when I am upset, wait and see what happens.”
After Zhao was released May 8 and charged with stalking and harassing communications, he gave Spratt two letters for the 22-year-old actress that he addressed to “Mary,” according to court records, which say he has referred to her as “his Mary, referencing Biblical Mary.”
In an April 11 post on his Facebook page in which he urged “Christian conservatives” to “stand up” and “take back” America, Zhao refers to Lawrence and the tumble she took as she accepted her Academy award.
“Well didn’t J-Law fall down and bow before God’s presence and highness this year at the Oscars” he wrote. “I am sure y’all seen the movie Silver Linings Playbook.There’s a silver linings (sic) in every cloud. Trust me.”
Zhao has pleaded not guilty pending a trial scheduled for July 23. Jefferson District Judge Annette Karem ordered him held on $100,000 bond at the request of the county attorney’s office, which said in court papers that “the victims are in serious danger.”’
She ordered Zhao to have no contact with the Lawrences. “No letters, no emails, no voice messages, no texts, no flowers,” she said.
Lawrence family friend and lawyer Brad Hume said in a statement that the family appreciated the “responsiveness and professionalism” of the Indian Hills Police Department and the county attorney’s office, and would cooperate fully.
“Beyond that the Lawrences asked that their privacy be respected,” he said. “This is not something they invited.”
Lawrence, who grew up in Louisville, was awarded the best actress Oscar this year for Silver Linings Playbook. She previously starred in Winter’s Bone and The Hunger Games.
Spratt said Zhao lives in Vancouver but was unable to say if he is employed.