Stalking victim: ‘I live every day in fear still.’

September 11, 2017

Brandon Gerth, left, with his attorney Kevin Kozma.

Stalking victim: ‘I live every day in fear still.’

#OceanaCountyCourtNews

By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — A 31-year-old Holton man was sentenced to time served for a conviction of aggravated stalking in 27th Circuit Court Monday, Sept. 11.

“I live every day in fear still,” the victim stated in court. “Last night, I went into hiding again. I don’t want to live like this anymore. I want justice to be served.”

Brandon Taylor Gerth, of 7442 Skeels Rd., was ordered to serve 130 days in jail with credit for 130 days served of a nine-month discretionary jail term and must serve five years probation. Gerth’s probation mandates that he have no contact with the victim and that he abstain from alcohol and drugs.

“It’s a very long time,” stated Judge Robert D. Springstead of Gerth’s probation, adding that a lengthy probation is necessary due to “the seriousness of stalking.”

“It has a very lasting effect on victims,” the judge said. “She’s still in fear — that’s what you did.”

Gerth was arrested last March by the Michigan State Police for two felony counts of aggravated stalking and was lodged in the Oceana County Jail on a $50,000/cash/surety bond.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated stalking last July. In exchange for Gerth’s guilty plea to one count, the second count was dismissed in a plea agreement.

Gerth previously testified that he repeatedly stalked the victim last March in Greenwood Township. “We had recently separated,” Gerth told Springstead. “I was really having a tough time with it.”

The victim obtained a personal protection order against him.

Gerth completed a 14-day inpatient stay at a treatment facility during his incarceration.

“I’m pleased with the progress you’ve made so far,” said Springstead regarding Gerth’s treatment. “You’re not out of the woods yet,” he warned. “It’s my hope that you stay clean. If you violate, you will go to jail for a very long time.”

“My client suffers from drug addition, and that is essentially what caused this sequence of events to occur,” said Gerth’s attorney, Kevin Kozma. Following his inpatient treatment, Gerth entered a sober living environment, the attorney said. “His problem is addiction.”

Gerth, who has a four-year college degree, has “tried very hard to remedy his situation,” Kozma said. “It’s a shame what he’s allowed to happen to him.”

“I just want to say I’m very sorry for my actions, and there are no excuses,” Gerth said. He never intended to harm the victim, he said. “I was hurt and wanted to harm myself.”

This story is copyrighted © 2017, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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