The Dangers of Stalking | Rebecca Schaeffer
Episode 16

The Dangers of Stalking | Rebecca Schaeffer

This week, Rasha and Yvette look at the tragic case of Rebecca Schaeffer. Rebecca was a young actress who was killed by her stalker in 1989. We also discuss the threat of stalking, and how pervasive that issue is in the age of social media.

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In The Episode

Trevor Young 00:03

You're listening to Facing Evil, a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are solely those of the individuals participating in the show, and do not represent those of iHeartRadio or Tenderfoot TV. This podcast contains subject matter which may not be suitable for everyone. Listener discretion is advised.

Yvette Gentile 00:27

Hi, everyone, welcome back to Facing Evil from Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio. We are your hosts. I'm Yvette Gentile.

Rasha Pecoraro 00:36

And I'm Rasha Pecoraro. And as always, our Texan producer, Trevor Young is with us.

Trevor Young 00:42

Hello, good morning, good afternoon, and good night.

Rasha Pecoraro 00:45

All the things ever.

Trevor Young 00:47

I don't know when people are listening to this. So I just had to get all the coverage.

Rasha Pecoraro 00:49

I know, it could be any time of day.

Yvette Gentile 00:51

But they are listening.

Trevor Young 00:53

So one thing I wanted to maybe do today, just before we get going is talk about some important podcasts that are out there, you know, some of our contemporaries and some of the work they're doing. One show that is on the Tenderfoot side of things, is a new true crime show called Le Monstre that I think everybody should be listening to. Matt Graves, who is originally from Austin, Texas, like me, we bonded over this, when I talked to him once, is the host of the show. He moved to Belgium decades ago, and got entwined in the story about a Belgian serial killer named Marc Dutroux. And it's a really fascinating story of a number of people who were missing and murdered in the 80s and 90s by Marc Dutroux. So it's going now and for anybody who hasn't started listening, I couldn't recommend it anymore. It's just incredible. So I wanted to throw that out there. I also want to say that we're making a show right now. It's actually the third season of a show called 13 Days of Halloween. It's just a fun little anthology horror story for October people. So, but yeah, are y'all listening to anything or anything you guys wanted to talk about?

Rasha Pecoraro 02:08

So well, number one I have to tell you, Trevor, Vanna is obsessed with and, please tell me, so "Le Monstre". Right. That's how you pronounce it. So she started down that rabbit hole, because prior to, you know, Root of Evil and Facing Evil, she hadn't ever really listened to true crime. And she realized that because she, she was recently diagnosed with ADHD, that she was listening to music when she was working. And she wasn't staying focused. But when she was listening to Facing Evil, she was like, maybe I should try other true crime shows because I kept sending her all these other shows because I like you know, all self help and happy-go-lucky shows a lot of the time. And so she started with Le Monstre. And now she's listened to everything that Tenderfoot and iHeart have done together. But her favorite thus far is Atlanta Monster. 

Trevor Young 03:00

Oh great. 

Rasha Pecoraro 03:00

Yeah. She just loves really everything you have done, Trevor.

Trevor Young 03:03

I'm glad to hear that. Thank you.

Yvette Gentile 03:05

I mean, I just have to say that I love The Ten News. And I know it is, you know, for children. And we are so lucky that you know, our producer, Tracy Kaplan, you know, is the head of that show. And my lovely nice Leilani has, you know, been a correspondent.

Rasha Pecoraro 03:24

She's a Tenner.

Yvette Gentile 03:24

She's a Tenner, but I just love it because it it's so informative, yes, for the kids, but even for us adults. So that's what I am listening to.

Rasha Pecoraro 03:34

All right, so with all of that being said, Trevor, I would be honored if you take us through today's case.

Archival 03:42

We're the cast from My Sister Sam, now one of us is gone forever. Rebecca Schaeffer was only 21-years-old when her life was taken by a single shot from a handgun. There's a fellow here that's been here lots of times, who has a large bouquet and about a five-foot teddy bear, and he's left it with us, and he wants us to deliver it to Rebecca Schaeffer. Zink has testified that Bardo hired him to find Rebecca Schaeffer's birthdate and home address in May of 1989, two months before the murder.

Trevor Young 04:15

Rebecca Schaeffer was a 21-year-old model and actor who was killed in Los Angeles, California in 1989. She was known for roles in TV shows like My Sister Sam, and the film Scenes From the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills. One person who watched her developed an obsession with Rebecca. This man attempted to meet Rebecca multiple times, and even hired a private investigator to find her home address. On January 19, 1989, that fan showed up at Rebecca's door. She politely asked him to leave, but he showed up again a few hours later. He pulled out a gun and shot her point blank in the doorway, and she died before reaching the hospital. The stalker was quickly arrested. He was convicted of first degree murder and given a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Rebecca Schaeffer is one of many women who have faced violence at the hands of a stalker. And for high profile individuals, stalkers can be particularly dangerous and difficult to manage. And so who was Rebecca Schaeffer? Who was the man who murdered her? And what does the story tell us about parasocial relationships and how they often lead to dangerous situations?

Rasha Pecoraro 05:34

So that's all so much, right? I mean, every case that we talk about is so much, but when we first started looking at cases, I knew I wanted to do Rebecca Schaeffer's case, because I remember being such a big fan of hers. You know, I was really young and the show she was on was all about, you know, sisters. My Sister Sam was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid. But I couldn't fathom how someone could just go to her home and shoot and kill her. Right? And I wanted to know more. And I do remember, initially, like knowing all the good things that happened after that, and because of that, and that's why I wanted to talk about it. But, you know, I was thinking about stalking. And about if that had ever happened to like me, or Yvette or, you know, thankfully, nothing like that has ever happened. But anytime you put yourself in the public eye, you're vulnerable. Right? 

Yvette Gentile 06:37


Rasha Pecoraro 06:37

And we even have, you know, sadly, we have some cyber stalkers that we've had to keep it at bay.

Yvette Gentile 06:44

Yeah, everything that you said is very true. And, you know, what we do know is the majority of, of stalkings that take place in this country, they are perpetrated by someone that the victim knows. I mean, you know, like an ex-boyfriend, or, you know, a friend, I mean, someone that they...

Trevor Young 07:05

A co-worker. 

Yvette Gentile 07:05

A co-worker, yeah, someone that they know. But then there are people that are in the public eye, like Rebecca Schaeffer, and their stalkers, they usually have no prior relationship to those that they prey upon. And yet, they behave, right, as if they already know them. 

Rasha Pecoraro 07:26


Yvette Gentile 07:26

Like that is someone that they already have a relationship with. And they don't, that is, they're infatuated with them, right?

Rasha Pecoraro 07:33

Mm hmm. Yeah, it's, it's a real problem. And I think that's, that happens with a lot of celebrities. You know, it happened back then. It's happening now. I mean, nearly one in three women, and one in six men have experienced stalking at some point in their lifetime. And that's according to the Stalking Prevention Awareness and Resource Center. And, of course, that behavior can range from harassment to threats to invasion of privacy, to, of course, more serious crimes, like assault or even murder.

Trevor Young 08:06

Yeah, it seems to be potentially an even more risky thing in the age of social media, right? I think. 

Yvette Gentile 08:12


Trevor Young 08:12

You know, people who are high profile are now like making their lives more accessible and visible through things like social media. And so I think people have to be even more careful now, you know, especially what kind of presence they have on Instagram, or Facebook, or what have you. Because, you know, all of a sudden, you're posting pictures of your family and your kids, and your fans now know who your kids are, what the inside of your house looks like, you know, all this kind of stuff. 

Yvette Gentile 08:39

Yeah, they know your location. You have to be very conscious, you know, of being on social media and Rasha and I have this conversation all the time. And again, with me, you know, it's a love/hate relationship because of that, like, I just don't feel that everybody needs to know, you know, your whereabouts at all times because of situations like this. 

Rasha Pecoraro 09:02

You know, I will say, you know, for me, of course, personally, like, yes, I am very open on social media. But Mom gave us a really good tip years ago, especially when Facebook first started. She was like, you know, baby, just always, you know, post your location after you've left. You know, I mean, and I've had especially like, right after I was on The Biggest Loser and Facebook was just kind of starting, I happened to check in somewhere and a fan, you know, showed up at Red Robin where I was having a burger and like, just wanted a photo, but like, what if that would have been someone like Rebecca's stalker you know. Like, I'm trying to balance it, especially being a mom and having a family and all the things and my sister Yvette, and I know, Trevor, you're, you're much more private too, like you both teach me well. I'm doing my best to be open, yet still, you know, share, and still be protected as well.

Yvette Gentile 09:59

But let's get back to Rebecca. I mean, we know she was so very young and she was 21-years-old. Right, Trevor?

Trevor Young 10:07

Yeah. I mean, she much like Dominique Dunne was very much at the beginning of her career. Dominique Dunne was another actor in Hollywood, who we talked about a couple episodes ago. And you know, like Dominique, she had just started to make a name for herself on TV primarily. I already mentioned the show My Sister Sam, which y'all had mentioned, as well, which she was actually on with Pam Dawber. And that show ran for two seasons before it was cancelled in 1988. Did either of you watch the show?

Rasha Pecoraro 10:39

I was heartbroken when it was canceled. Oh my God, I was obsessed. 

Yvette Gentile 10:42

Yeah, we totally watched the show. And it was so cool. Because, you know, it was filmed as if it was in San Francisco, you know, so to see the cable cars and all that before I'd ever come to San Francisco was like, you just loved it and the chemistry that they had, you know, between the two sisters, it's like Rasha, right? We always... 

Rasha Pecoraro 11:00

Of course.

Yvette Gentile 11:01

Like I was the older one, Rasha was the younger one.

Rasha Pecoraro 11:03

Yeah, but I was, I was actually really, really sad when it was canceled. And I think it's because if I remember correctly, it's because it it moved to a different night. You know what I mean like, it had a really bad, you know, spot and it was up against The Facts of Life. Like, you know, everybody loves The Facts of Life. So it was kind of dead in the water when it moved to a different night. But yeah, I, and I just loved the chemistry between the two women on and off screen. And, you know, we'll get into that more because Pam, Pam loved Rebecca. Yeah. And so funny too, like, of course, you know, watching My Sister Sam, like I, of course, loved that show. But I had no idea that Rebecca spent a bunch of time in Oregon, where my wife and I live, and she was actually born in Eugene, Oregon, near University of Oregon. Go Ducks. The Schaeffer family was Jewish. And as a child, Rebecca considered becoming a rabbi when she grew up before she became the famous actress that she became. She began modeling in her junior year of high school, and was even featured in print ads, and was also an extra in TV and film. And Eugene, Oregon is really close to Portland, Oregon. And Portland is the bigger city. So she ended up actually getting an agent in Portland. And that is where she got the acting and modeling bug. So she was working consistently. And so, with her parent's permission, she ended up moving to New York to pursue her career. So she landed a small roll on one of my favorite soap operas of all time on ABC - One Life to Live. And she ended up really just more so focusing on her acting rather than her modeling, because she was only 5' 7". So she modeled a little bit in Japan. But then once she, you know, came back to the States, she realized that New York probably wasn't the best fit for her, at least for modeling, but for acting is where she knew that was her sweet spot.

Yvette Gentile 11:34

Yeah. Yeah, totally. And she definitely, you know, had the drive, you know, what you absolutely have to have in this business. And apparently, you know, everybody said that she was a spitfire, and you could just look at her and tell that, you know, she just, you know, when they say that you you have "it", like she definitely had it, and she was really, you know, serious about her work. So, like you said, she wasn't modeling, you know, or doing as much modeling as she would like to do because of her height. So she was off, you know, to LA to, to get serious and become a serious actress.

Rasha Pecoraro 13:50

Yeah, and I'm not sure if she was in LA or New York when she was cast in the Woody Allen film, but she was cast in a small role in the Woody Allen movie Radio Days. But sadly, her part was mostly left on the cutting room floor. So she kind of thought that was going to be her big break, but it wasn't. But interestingly enough, her big break came from being on the cover of Seventeen Magazine. And I had this magazine. I looked at it, I remember seeing her bright shining smile and her curls and her dimples. And TV producers saw her on that cover, and they ended up, you know, going through a whole casting and auditioning process, but that is how Rebecca Schaeffer was cast on the show we keep talking about, My Sister Sam. And Pam Dawber played her sister, and you might remember Pam from Mork and Mindy as Mindy.

Yvette Gentile 14:43

And apparently Rebecca and Pam became really close in real life. They were almost like real life sisters, you know, in that chemistry, like you can't make that up.

Rasha Pecoraro 14:56

So the show was incredibly successful, like, you know, we've said so much today. We both, Yvette and I, watched the show, absolutely loved it. But sadly, after two seasons, My Sister Sam ended up getting canceled. And Rebecca ended up appearing in a few more, you know, movies and, I think she did some more TV movies and I think one film, but by this time, she had already moved out of Pam's house and into an apartment in the Fairfax neighborhood in LA.

Trevor Young 15:26

And just to back up a little and talk about the stalker in this case. It was while Rebecca was doing My Sister, Sam, that she started to receive fan letters from a man named John Bardo. And he was a teenager himself, a couple years younger than she was. He certainly wasn't her only fan, but she responded to him writing that his letter was, quote, the most beautiful that she'd ever received. And on this letter, she drew a piece sign, a heart, and signed it, quote, with love from Rebecca. So the day Bardo received this letter he wrote in his diary, quote, when I think of her, I would like to become famous to impress her, end quote.

Rasha Pecoraro 16:08

Little did she know she was writing to the person who would one day stalk and kill her.

Trevor Young 16:15

Yes, but we need to take a break. So we will talk more about that after we get back.

Rasha Pecoraro 16:26

So to catch you up, Rebecca Schaeffer was a teenager at the time while she was co-starring in the popular TV show My Sister Sam, and that's when she began receiving fan letters from John Bardo. But who was John Bardo?

Trevor Young 16:41

Well, Bardo was born in 1970 in Edwards, California, and he was the youngest of seven children. He allegedly had a somewhat troubled childhood, and he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at a very young age. He was institutionalized at age 15, to treat some suppose that emotional problems, and he ended up dropping out of high school not long after that point. So he was just a young teenager himself when he began to stalk a different girl named Samantha Smith, who was a well known peace activist. So Bardo went as far as taking a bus to Maine where Smith lived, and he continued to stalk her until she tragically died in a plane crash in 1985. But the following year, in 1986, John Bardo found somebody new. He was watching My Sister Sam, and quickly developed an obsession with Rebecca on screen. He built a shrine to her in his bedroom, supposedly, and started to obsessively write letters to her.

Yvette Gentile 17:45

In June 1987, he attempted to meet Rebecca by showing up at the Warner Brothers Studio where My Sister Sam was being filmed. And the studio's Chief of Security said that, that he just thought that this guy was lovestruck, adding that Bardo had actually called the studio multiple times. And he also said that when he was there, he was terribly, like, insistent upon being let into the studio. And every. you know, every other word that he was saying was Rebecca, this, Rebecca that. So to me, that is a red flag. 

Rasha Pecoraro 18:24


Yvette Gentile 18:25

If I was the security guard, I'm just saying I would have told her people, right, told her manager, told someone that you know, this guy is, there's something askew here.

Rasha Pecoraro 18:35

So I was actually watching an entire documentary on Rebecca and her life in her case, and her manager was with Rebecca on set when John Bardo was at the gate of the Warner Brothers lot. And they did call over to set and talk to the manager, not to Rebecca, and the manager just dismissed it like, oh, not a big deal. Like sorry, we don't have time for that fan today. And they didn't even think about it again. So to them, it wasn't a cause for concern. But for me, and I think we can all three agreed, like these are all major red flags. Right?

Yvette Gentile 19:10

Yeah, I would definitely have to agree. You know, they, they just thought he was just a fan, right? A lovestruck fan. And ultimately, you know, they deemed him harmless and he was just escorted off the premises.

Trevor Young 19:24

Right. Well, a few years later, that might have been different if this was happening in a different time period, because in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act was passed. And since then, every single state has passed laws making this sort of stalking a crime. But back in 1989, there was no such law in existence. Sadly.

Rasha Pecoraro 19:48

It is, it is so sad. Yeah. Anyway, after this particular incident, John Bardo returns to Tucson where he lives in Arizona and once he was there, he kind of got distracted. And he ended up fanning out over Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, and Madonna, so he was in a pop star phase as opposed to focusing on Rebecca, right? I mean, it was it was a sign of the times. But it was later discovered that Bardo had been carrying a knife in his bag when he was trying to reach Rebecca at the studio back in LA.

Yvette Gentile 20:25

That's just crazy. But can you imagine though, if he would have gotten on and he's, he's got this, you know what I mean?

Rasha Pecoraro 20:31

Yeah. And at the time, I don't know if they would have patted him down or even done a metal detector or anything like that. 

Yvette Gentile 20:36


Rasha Pecoraro 20:37

Yeah. Well, anyway, his new obsessions with, you know, the pop stars didn't last very long. And in 1989, I think this was a really big trigger for him. He watched Rebecca's latest film at the time, and it was a movie called Scenes From a Class Struggle in Beverly Hills. And it's very different from her past work. And it's, let's just say it's truly a film for adults. It's not for a teenage mind. And it's this farcical dark upside downstairs comedy about rich people and their staff in Los Angeles hooking up with one another. So Bardo, I think he was very triggered, and he hated the fact that there is one scene in particular where Rebecca's character has sex with someone. Okay, so he's held on to this idea that Rebecca is this innocent girl like her, her character, and she's like, not having sex, right. And he says that she's now become quote, one more of the bitches of Hollywood, end quote. He was so upset and so enraged that he even drew a diagram of Rebecca's body, and marked spots where he planned to shoot her. And he even asked his older brother to buy him a gun, and his brother helped him buy a gun.

Trevor Young 21:57

So now John Bardo has a weapon. And he just needs to locate Rebecca Schaeffer. And so he goes to the lengths of hiring a private investigator to retrieve her personal address. And he's able to do that pretty easily. He goes to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. And at the time, all you had to do was pay $4 for that information, and basically anybody could get it. And so Bardo knows how to do all this, how to hire the investigator and find out where she lives, because he's read up on it. And apparently, it's not a huge secret. So back in 1982, there was actually another actress named Theresa Saldana, who had this stalker who stabbed her at her apartment after that man acquired her address, pretty much going the same route, right, like hiring a private investigator, and going through the DMV and this whole thing. So there's like a method to doing this. And John Bardo has learned how to do that. 

Rasha Pecoraro 22:53


Yvette Gentile 22:53

Yeah. He's become a stalker. 

Rasha Pecoraro 22:57

Well, it's like, he knows he's a stalker. Right? Well, he knows, he knows because he's doing exactly what that stalker did to Theresa Saldana, who thankfully survived. 

Yvette Gentile 23:06

She survived.

Rasha Pecoraro 23:07

And she became an advocate. So John Bardo in his head he's like, wait, that's some way that I can get to Rebecca. Like, does he not know that he's a psychopath?

Yvette Gentile 23:19

Yeah, but the crazy thing about this is that same, you know, investigator, that same PI was the same guy.

Rasha Pecoraro 23:27

Right, he used the same PI.

Trevor Young 23:29

His career is helping stalkers kill people. 

Rasha Pecoraro 23:31

Yeah. How can that PI feel good about themselves? Like that's just gross. So it is, needless to say, deeply unsettling. So around this time, John Bardo apparently writes in a letter to his older sister, which includes the lines, quote, I have an obsession with the unattainable. I have to eliminate what I cannot attain, end quote. So this now brings us up to the morning of the crime. So that day, in July of 1989, Rebecca was awaiting the delivery of the script for The Godfather Part III, which she's auditioning for. And this is a normal thing, couriers come by, they ring your doorbell, they drop off the script, you sign for it. It's like a total thing in Hollywood. I remember Yvette used to get these all the time when we lived together in LA. Yeah, so but this time when Rebecca's doorbell rings, like I said, she's expecting it to be the script being dropped off, but it's not. So instead standing there is John Bardo. So ABC News reported, quote, when she opened the door, he showed her the card that she had sent him in response to one of his many fan letters, as well as an autographed photo of her and told her he was her biggest fan. According to police, she politely excused herself telling him she had to get ready for an interview, end quote. So she was kind to him. She didn't say, Hey, get the eff out. She was nice. But this apparently pissed him off because he felt maybe, he felt like he wasn't special. But anyway, he ends up leaving and he goes to a diner where he stews over this entire interaction. Right and just a quick sidebar. An interesting detail is that John Bardo has in his bag at the moment, a copy of the book Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. And interesting parallel with that is that that's the same book that was in the possession of John Hinckley, Jr., who shot Ronald Reagan, as well as Mark David Chapman, who we all know shot and killed John Lennon. So John Bardo is carrying this book around as a sort of copycat, you know, you're asking about earlier like, does, does he know he's like a stalker slash killer? And it's like very clear, like, who he looks up to. 

Yvette Gentile 23:32


Rasha Pecoraro 26:04

Right, who his idols are.

Trevor Young 26:06

I think he's, like, very actively putting himself in the shoes of those people. You know, in his stated goal, you know, going back from the earliest time he was exchanging letters with Rebecca Schaeffer was to be famous like she is, and that's what a lot of stalkers say, right, a lot of stalker killers. So it seems like he thought this was his path to stardom. Right? This, this would make him famous by killing a star, a celebrity.

Rasha Pecoraro 26:34

And so that's exactly what John Bardo is on his way to do. So he returns to Rebecca's apartment shortly after, and he rang her doorbell again. And this time when she answers, she's annoyed, right, and tells him he's wasting her time. And he then responds by withdrawing the gun that was in his waistband. And he shoots her point blank in the chest. She dies before she even reaches the hospital.

Trevor Young 27:09

Right. Bardo then flees from Los Angeles, but he is found the next day stumbling through highway traffic in Tucson. Police apprehend him, and he almost immediately incriminates himself in the crime. He also claimed he was quote, stunned and saddened to see on television that Schaeffer had died, which is an interesting thing to say, you know, it obviously implies that maybe he didn't intend to kill her, but, you know, wanted to harm her or just be known for having tried, maybe, you know, but, you know, we may never know. 

Yvette Gentile 27:48

Yeah, that is the case. You know, we may never know getting into the head of someone like that. You just, you don't, you have no clue of what they're thinking. But we do know that it takes two years for the trial to get underway. And it's a very dramatic trial.

Trevor Young 28:06

Yes. And we will talk about that trial after we take another quick break.

Rasha Pecoraro 28:12

So in the fall of 1991, two years after he's admitted to knocking on her door and shooting her at point blank range, John Bardo's trial for the murder of Rebecca Schaeffer begins.

Yvette Gentile 28:24

The prosecuting attorney is Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark. And yes, that is the Marcia Clark that we all know who would later go on to be the lead prosecutor in the very famous O.J. Simpson murder trial.

Trevor Young 28:42

Yeah. And that O.J. trial was also covered by journalist Dominick Dunne, who was the father of Dominique Dunne, who we talked about in a few episodes ago. So interesting connection there.

Rasha Pecoraro 28:53

Yeah, definitely. So Bardo by this time has confessed to this crime, but he's pleaded not guilty to first degree murder, which would classify the killing as premeditated. And this leaves the prosecution with two big challenges. So first, Marcia Clark needed to prove that John Bardo acted intentionally. So that would mean at least 25 years-to-life in prison. But even with this, there would be the possibility of parole. So she also needed to prove that there's been a quote, special circumstance, and Marcia Clark said that in this case, that special circumstance was the fact that Bardo was basically lying in wait.

Yvette Gentile 29:35

Right, so to prove this, she goes to a videotape jailhouse interview with Bardo and in this video he describes the killing in detail, showing how he hid the gun when he knocked on the door. And in that tape, he also acted out the sounds of the gunshot and Rebecca, like, dying and screaming.

Rasha Pecoraro 30:02

And as if that weren't enough to show that he had arrived at her apartment that day with an intent and a plan to kill her, he also revealed that the song "Exit" by U2 inspired him to murder Rebecca. When the song was played in the courtroom, he actually sat there drumming along, smiling and lip syncing the lyrics. A psychiatrist who examined Bardo after his arrest did testify that Bardo interpreted parts of the lyrics as literal references to himself and Rebecca Schaeffer.

Trevor Young 30:40

Yeah, it's interesting. That's the thing a lot of murderers do, is they imprint on musicians and songs. You know, like they see music as being about something more personal to them than it ever actually could be. You know, I think back to Charles Manson, and his obsession with things like Helter Skelter, right, where he was entirely misinterpreting it to be about some, you know, personal image he had in his own head, that was, you know, very narcissistic in nature, but had no basis in reality. Anyways, on October 30 of 1991, John Bardo is indeed found guilty of first degree murder. He's also found guilty of the special circumstance you mentioned, Rasha, of the lying in wait to kill Rebecca Schaeffer. So basically, what this means is that he now gets a life sentence without the possibility of parole. And in fact, he's still serving his life sentence today. There was actually an attempt on his life in 2007, when he was stabbed repeatedly with a shiv by another inmate. But he survived this and is alive today.

Rasha Pecoraro 31:51

Wow. I don't ever want anyone to die, of course, but, you know, I'm happy that he does not have the option of being paroled. But I will say, like I said, at the very top of the episode, I remember being so inspired by Rebecca's case, because I do know that laws were changed because of the Theresa Saldanas and the Rebecca Schaeffers. And one of those laws that was passed was in 1994, the Driver's Privacy Protection Act was passed. So this is a federal law that limits the disclosure of personal information, like where someone lives, that you can get from state DMVs. So no one can obtain someone's home address from DMV reports the way that that private investigator that John Bardo hired did. And this law was spurred to try to ensure the safety of people like Rebecca Schaeffer, who are being stalked or battered, as well as instances of anti-abortion activists targeting abortion providers and patients. You know, I mean, it protects so many teams. Yeah. And so in that way, I truly believe that there is a little bit of light in this darkness of this story, right? Things are a little bit better for those of us or those of you who experienced the terror of stalking, you know, but of course, the problem is sadly far from over, but it's getting better.

Yvette Gentile 33:29

And that brings us to our Imua. Today's message of hope and healing goes out to all of those, like Rebecca Schaeffer, who have faced fear and intimidation at the hands of a stalker.

Rasha Pecoraro 33:43

Being stalked can be a very scary experience. We have to remember that stalking victims suffer much higher rates of depression, anxiety, and insomnia than others. And the advancement of technology has made the problem more acute in many ways. More than twice as many victims are stocked with technology than without. Cyber stalking and cyber bullying are sadly on the rise. 

Yvette Gentile 34:09

And what we do know is stalking behavior is still too often portrayed as just harmless or even romantic, but it isn't, it's incredibly dangerous and it should never be considered acceptable. End of story.

Rasha Pecoraro 34:25

If you're among the estimated 13.5 million people who are stalked in a given year, we see you and we will continue to speak out on your behalf. When enough of us do this, it can really make a difference. We all need to use our voices for good. Onward and upward. Imua.

Yvette Gentile 34:46


Rasha Pecoraro 34:52

If you or someone you know is experiencing stalking behavior, you can find tools and resources to help at That's

Yvette Gentile 35:07

Well, that is our show for today. As always, we'd love to hear what you thought about today's discussion and if there is a case that you would like us to cover.

Rasha Pecoraro 35:16

Find us on social media or email us at and one request, if you haven't already, please find us on iTunes and give us a review and a good rating if you like what we do. Your support is always cherished.

Yvette Gentile 35:32

Until next time, aloha.

Trevor Young 35:46

Facing Evil is a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV. The show is hosted by Rasha Pecoraro and Yvette Gentile. Matt Frederick and Alex Williams are executive producers on behalf of iHeartRadio with producers Trevor Young and Jesse Funk. Donald Albright and Payne Lindsey are executive producers on behalf of Tenderfoot. TV, alongside producer Tracy Kaplan. Our researcher is Claudia Dafrico. Original Music by Makeup and Vanity Set. Find us on social media, or email us at For more podcasts from iHeart Radio or Tenderfoot TV, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.


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