Daniel Sepiashvili's harrowing journey of anxiety and torment after trying to ghost a woman — with whom he had two sexual encounters —highlights what lengths some women will go to force an ex-lover to be in contact with them. We generally only see stories in the media about men stalking women. But a recent Ontario court case gives us an in-depth look into how one woman stalked a man, breached a restraining order to continue stalking him, and then demanded in court that she personally cross-examine her victim because only she knew how to question him.
In the end, Jennifer McKinley was found guilty of criminal harassment because of the ample and indisputable evidence provided by Sepiashvili, the arresting police officer, and the Crown prosecutor. Thousands of verified text messages, location data, video surveillance, body-worn police video footage, and Sepiashvili's forthright and detailed testimony proved the case against her.
After McKinley was arrested and charged, Sepiashvili was so afraid she would be released on bail and out looking for him that he never went back to his home and stayed somewhere else safe.
When it was time for McKinley to face the music in court she chose to self-represent herself. She asserted her right to a fair trial by way of personally cross-examining her accuser as a self-represented defendant. What she didn't know was that criminal harassment is one of the offences in the Canada Criminal Code Section 486.3(2), alongside sexual assault, that bars self-represented defendants from the automatic right to personally cross-examine their accusers.
The judge, in this case, was required to appoint a defence lawyer specifically to conduct the cross-examination. McKinley, staying true to her aggressive and shameless nature, refused this option and told the judge only she could effectively ask Sepiashvili questions in furtherance of her defence. The judge denied her demands and neither McKinley nor anyone else cross-examined Sepiashvili.
To understand the absurdity of McKinley cross-examining Sepiashvili, you'd have to understand the history between these two and how McKinley conducted herself for almost three years. One of the reasons behind preventing cross-examination by a self-represented defendant in cases like these is to prevent further re-victimization of the complainant. Sepiashvili was the complainant in this case.
Keep reading for all the sordid details.
Sepiashvili tried to ghost McKinley after something about their second encounter put him off. He did not want to present himself as an insensitive jerk because he felt she was a genuinely good person, so he maintained cordial contact with her using minimal effort. However, any response he sent to her she perceived as leading her to think there was still a chance between them.
Over the course of two years, she sent him thousands of text messages and social media messages and called him incessantly. Her messages varied from polite, aggressive, and accusatory to apologetic. He would tell her to stop messaging him, and there would be a pause, but then she would start up again. He would even relent to meet her in person in a busy public place for a heart-to-heart hoping to get her to realize she needed to move on but to no avail. He told her he was seeing someone else, but she wouldn’t let up.
Her stalking became extreme; she flew to Miami when she found out through social media posts that Sepiashvili was heading to Miami. She texted him her location data to show she was there, proving her undying love for him.
“I want to be with you forever… I’ve spent the better part of two years… to prove to you how much I’m willing to give up for you or how far I’m willing to go for you”.
Back home in Toronto, she would stalk his condominium building, leave gifts for him at his door and take selfies of herself outside his door and text him the photos. When that went ignored, she upped her stalker game by texting him she had rented a place in the same building and was interviewing for a job in his industry. Now Sepiashvili is mortified.
“Honestly you need to stop calling and texting me. This is harassment. Do not contact me again.”
His plea was futile, and she continued to attempt to contact him. Her next move was to send him nude selfies of herself. Again, he demanded she stops contacting him but to no avail.
“Babe I don’t know why you want to pretend I won’t get what I want” …“You’re mine.”
She began to harass him about other women she thought he was sleeping with, even naming them, though Sepiashvili did not know how she would have known their names.
“I don’t want you to f*ck anyone that isn’t me.” …“I’m going to f*cking snap” … “You know I’m not going anywhere.”
Her messages continued, and each time he would tell her she had to stop and leave him alone.
As McKinley continued to monitor social media posts to find out where Sepiashvili would be, almost three years later, she succeeded in surprising him in person — this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She chased him down the street, screaming at him, after locating him at a restaurant where he was having dinner with his friends. He told her to leave him alone. In response, she threw her mittens and glasses at him. This incident genuinely scared Sepiashvili and prompted him to report her to the police. He thought she could have had a weapon on her and might take her obsession beyond professing her undying love.
A few days later, however, despite the restraining order against her, she resumed incessantly contacting him and stalking him.
A few months later, Sepiashvili encountered her at his building, waiting for him as he pulled into the garage in his car. She approached his car, and he called the police again. This time it was all caught on surveillance video. But since she lived there, too, she technically was not violating the order.
The police worked with Sepiashvili to create enough evidence of the incident to lay criminal charges that were most likely to succeed in court. That involved engaging her in text messaging to establish her location to be where she was legally forbidden to be — in his presence and having contact with him. She knew she was cornered yet shamelessly texted him,
“I will go to jail forever for you.” ... ”Because I love you.”
When the police arrived, however, McKinley was emotionally distraught and tried to run into traffic. But she was caught and put up a struggle, allegedly kicking the officer while being handcuffed. Since that kick wasn't recorded by the officer's body-worn camera the charge of assaulting a peace officer was dismissed. McKinley pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a release order (breaching the no-contact order).
No sentencing information is available, and whether or not she intends to appeal her conviction remains to be seen. She faces no more than 2 years less a day in jail and/or a $5,000 fine for a summary criminal harassment conviction.
Cases of women stalking men are not new to The Lighthouse Project because sometimes, obsessive stalking transitions into false accusations in a desperate cry for attention when the woman takes her desire to force communication beyond imagination.
Diana Davison, founder of The Lighthouse Project, has assisted with similar cases helping men get their false accuser charged and assisted Crown prosecutors in understanding that the charges against the accused person formed a part of the stalking.