Jilted boyfriend is found guilty of harassment

October 19, 1994|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,Sun Staff Writer

After Francis Aiello became the jilted lover in a monthlong relationship, he bombarded his former girlfriend for months with love letters, "cute" postcards and notes containing Bible passages.

He called it love. She called it harassment.

Baltimore County District Judge Alexandra Williams sided with the girlfriend Monday. The judge gave Mr. Aiello a 30-day suspended sentence and told him to have no contact with Melissa Feeney for three years.

"Not all people are aggressive in violence," prosecutor Lisa Fox-Dever told the judge.

According to testimony at the trial:

Mr. Aiello, 43, a Catonsville plumber, and Ms. Feeney, 24, a student at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, met in November and began dating in February. Mr. Aiello fell in love. Ms. Feeney didn't.

"My feelings have changed," Ms. Feeney said she told Mr. Aiello during an argument on the phone in March. "I do not want to be in a relationship."

But Mr. Aiello then began sending her colorful greeting cards and five-page letters. They came nearly every day, slipped into mailboxes and placed under the wiper of Ms. Feeney's car.

They all had the same theme: Let's talk, let's meet, be glad in the Lord and rejoice, and I love you.

None of the missives overtly threatened Ms. Feeney or used foul language. But, she said, it was Mr. Aiello's read-between-the-lines message that frightened her.

A postcard sent on May 13 was the last straw. It bore the picture of a small brown teddy bear, blindfolded and tied to a tiny chair. The caption read: "Write or you will never see this bear again."

Mr. Aiello thought the postcard was cute. "I was the teddy bear because she called me her teddy bear," he said after the trial.

Ms. Feeney said she thought she was the intended bear and became frightened. She called police, and Mr. Aiello was charged with stalking and harassment.

The judge dropped the stalking charges.

Mr. Aiello said he can't figure out what happened.

"She went from 'I love you, I love you, I love you,' to 'I don't want to see you anymore.' I am the victim," he said.

"I don't feel any safer than I did before," Ms. Feeney said yesterday. "The tone of those letters is clearly not from a person with a stable mind."

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