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Laverne Cox, you may know me from Orange is the New Black or disclosure, my hope is that people listening to the Laverne Cox Show gain new perspectives that will inspire them to live differently there.


All of these things that we just accept as natural, normal and inevitable. But they're not.


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Now, what's up, everybody? We're L.A. comedy group, Obama's other daughters.


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Welcome to criminalize a production of scandal and audio in partnership with I Heart Radio. Hello and welcome to another episode of criminality. This season, we're exploring the lives and motivations of some of the most notorious stalkers throughout history.


I'm Maria Tomoaki. And I'm Holly Fry. And today we're talking about stalking behavior that's happened in the more recent past than some of our other episodes, specifically related to the Beatles. Before we get into the specific Beatle, we're going to focus on today. We're also going to talk about the Fab Three for just a minute.


Yes, the Fab Three. So let's start with the legendary founding member of the Beatles, John Lennon.


So as most of us know, Lennon was assassinated by an obsessed fan named Mark David Chapman on December 8th in 1980.


Lennon, who was 40 years old, was shot four times at close range with a 38 caliber revolver in the Archway of the Dakota, which was his Manhattan address at the time.


And Chapman had been a fan of the Beatles. But that fandom soured when John Lennon commented that the Beatles were and we quote, and that's a rather famous quote, more popular than Jesus.


Chapman was very offended by this and allegedly started planning to assassinate Lennon three months before he actually carried out that act. He had intended to cite J.D. Salinger famous novel, The Catcher in the Rye as his manifesto. He pleaded guilty to murder after he was taken in and he remains incarcerated in upstate New York in twenty twenty. He was denied parole for the 11th time.


John Lennon is the most famously stalked Beatle, but he certainly wasn't the only member of the band who was stalked. So let's look at Ringo Starr, for instance.


Now, there are so many stories of fans grabbing at him, like just literally at him, at his clothing, at his hair, his body. He had his hair snapped.


He had it actually pulled out. He had jewelry stolen and including his one time when a necklace was actually stolen while he was wearing it.


Yeah. Just no sense of boundaries or respect at that point. And then we have to talk about Paul McCartney. McCartney produced a song called Fixing a Hole, which appeared on the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. And that song, of course, was not literally about fixing a hole. According to McCartney's own account, it was based on a surge in the number of fans who were utterly and scarily obsessed with the group since the whole Beatlemania thing began.


That we know is when fans became so obsessed that they started trying to get things such as an item of clothing or even a lock of hair from a member of a group or stealing their necklace right off of their person, all while screaming, that's the Beatlemania thing.


And every one of these members feared the stalkers that he was getting, which were increasing in number as time went on.


Yeah. And in 1967, Paul McCartney was quoted about song in the London Times where he said, it's really about the fans who hang around outside your door day and night.


And he reflects it in the song's lyrics, which include see the people standing there, they worry me and never win and wonder why they don't get in my door.


So now let's talk about George Harrison. No member of the Beatles was safe from stalkers, and George had at least two experiences with obsessed fans. And specifically, there were two who actually got into his home and one of them almost murdered him. George in an anthology 1995 Beatles anthology, his quote was, They used us an excuse to go mad, the world did, and then they blamed it on us, which I think is a great quote when we're talking about stockers.


Yeah. Particularly when it comes to celebrity. So we're going to take a break for a word from our sponsor. Yes. You may have gathered this is a little bit of a heavier episode than some of them. And when we get back, we're going to talk about how Kristen Kelaher broke into George Harrison's Hawaii home.


I'm Ali Wentworth's mom, wife, actress, writer, comedian and also the host of Go Ashkali, the podcast that dissects the craziness of modern life and says, I never thought anybody could be this irreplaceable.


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Hi, it's Laverne Cox and my new podcast, Laverne Cox Show.


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Welcome back to Criminalist. Want to hear about the woman who drank George Harrison's root beer, because I know we do. First of all, we are going to start with this woman whose name was Kristen. In mid October of 1999, a 27 year old woman, Kristen Kelaher, began obsessing over George Harrison. And on December twenty third of that year, Kristen broke into Harrison's 61 acre estate near Hannah on the island of Maui. And those 61 acres were full of trees and bushes, very, very intentionally meant to discourage paparazzi and fans like Kristen from reaching the family's mansion.


But somehow, Kristen did reach the mansion and she walked through an open sliding glass door. I think back to the boy, Jones.


And it's always, how did the boy Jones get into the to the palace? Oh, through an open window.


I just walked right in the straight in.


So the circumstance of what Kristen did while she was there is actually kind of more interesting than how she got inside.


So while she was there, she cooked a frozen pizza. She drank Rukia from the family's refrigerator, did some of her own personal laundry, and then called her mother long distance in Long Branch, New Jersey.


And this is all according to the police. And although she was obsessed to the point of delusion, Kristen admitted to authorities that there was actually really no particular motive or reason for her visit.


I have so many questions like did she bring dirty laundry with her so that she could play house? Did she just take off what she had worn, wash it and then put it back on? I I'm very fascinated by the laundry in particular.


In my mind, she actually has like a pillow case stack of laundry that she took with her.


But that's very like Sullivan's Travels know.


So she was discovered an hour later by in-house security, who proceeded to, of course, called the police.


Don Carroll, who was the caretaker and manager of the estate, stated at her hearing that she did not have any permission to be in the house. And he also added that Kristen had approached him a few months earlier in October of that year to tell him that she was hoping that she would run in to the quiet Beatle.


It wasn't just Dawn who reported Kristen as an obsessed fan. There's a written statement that was sent to the court and it was reported that Kristen had previously visited the home of Harrison's brother in law asking to see the singer. And she was quoted saying, I thought I had a psychic connection with George.


So after this break in, Kristen was arrested, as you might suspect, since we've been mentioning the hearing and she was taken to the Maui Community Correctional Facility. That was at 430 a.m. on Christmas Eve. And the charge was actually burglary and theft. Plus, she also pleaded no contest to trespassing inside the estate. And Kristen was held on five thousand dollars bail or possibly three thousand. We came across both numbers in her records, but that's not really a super important detail.


So we didn't really dwell on it. Ultimately, she served four months in jail for entering the house without permission and of course, for the theft of eating frozen pizza and drinking root beer and probably that long distance phone call as well.


But upon her release from jail, a few more years of probation were were added to her sentence.


And as it turns out, in a bit of good fortune, the Harrison family was not actually at their Hawaiian home when Kristen broke in, at least according to the Maui police. It was reported in the London Times that Kristen was dangerous and that she would have tried to attack the Harrisons had they been at home. Maui police, though, replied that they and we quote, wouldn't go so far as to call her a danger to the Harrisons.


Those investigators believed that she was homeless and looking for a place to do her laundry and get a pizza and some root beer, a little snack while it was in the dryer.


But OK, I'm joking right now. But this actually becomes way more tragic when you look at Kristen's life after this on December 19th of 2006. That puts Kristen at about age 34 and that puts us about seven years after her visit to the Harrison home. She was found dead as the result of a murder suicide and she had been fatally shot in the head outside of a Toyota forerunner, according to the Nevada state deputies. On the scene, a man named Stanley Merchant who was seated in the car had shot himself in the head as well.


Both were shot with a 12 gauge shotgun. And to this day, there is still no answer as to why this happened.


I am not George Harrison and can't imagine what it would have been like, but I would imagine this was all. Rather unsettling, I bet, however, Kristin's story is not the end of his stalker experiences. Strangely, she was one of two cases that actually happened very close together on the timeline. She was arrested just one week before Harrison encountered another intruder. That was a man named Michael Abrahim at Friar Park, which is George's estate in Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire.


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And when we're back, what motivates one man to scale a brick wall that's topped with barbed wire just to get to a member of the Beatles? We'll talk about it.


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Welcome back to Criminal. Let's talk about the night George Harrison was stabbed.


OK, so over the years, there have been a variety of burglary attempts at the Friar Park Estate.


It's about 25 miles outside of London.


There was a reported arson attempt in 1972, and George also received a number of written death threats over his decades as a member of the Beatles. In response, he had installed some pretty serious security ID, powerful lights and security cameras, electronically controlled gates, and the grounds were protected by a high brick wall, which was topped with barbed wire.


And there was a team of security guards as well, and they had guard dogs.


And all of this was a long process. George was the first Beatle who decided to retreat from the limelight and he moved to this protected country mansion, the grounds there where where Harrison fell in love with gardening. But they were also known for a network of caves, a maze, as well as vast underground and underwater features. Oh, and charmingly, Harrison salvaged more than one gnome as he was tending to the overgrown landscaping. He unearthed them and he always kept them.


He kept everyone. That's a great little detail. And I actually encourage you to go look at this Friar Park estate, because the previous owner from the Harrison's, they're the ones who did this like underground water system in an underground cave network.


And they did kind of some creepy photography there, too.


So it's it's all very there are a lot of pictures of it available.


Yeah, yeah. I highly encourage it. Despite all the security measures that are in place on December 30th of 1999. Thirty three year old Michael Abrahim, who was a native of Liverpool, entered their estate. And I tell you, it was not to make their pizza.


You know, Michael somehow scaled that wall with the barbed wire on top and entered the Harrison's mansion. This was at approximately three thirty a.m. and he got in because he broke a window with a statue and climbed through. And as you might expect, when the statue comes through your window, it woke up the family.


You would think it actually makes me wonder if the family wasn't staying at the Hawaiian estate at the time, why was the sliding glass door open? Let's ask Don that question next time he's around the manager of the estate.


I've always been curious. I'm like, why is that open? I always wonder if open just means it wasn't locked. Maybe, but come on down.


George's wife, Olivia, is actually the first who heard the noise. And when she heard it, she thought it actually wasn't an intruder.


She thought that maybe a chandelier had fallen, which I mean, to be honest, that's always my first thought. When I hear a big noise in my house, it must be a chandelier.


But she quickly realized that someone was actually in their house and she called security and she called the police. And while she was doing that, George put on a jacket over his pajamas and pulled on a pair of boots to go downstairs and check things out, which to me seems like it would have been quite a sight in his boots.


And that's where the fun part ends, because when he went downstairs, Michael stabbed George several times in the torso with a seven inch knife. And in the process, he punctured his right lung.


George, in a written statement to the court, said, when we quote, There were times during the violent struggle I truly believed I was dying.


He said that he chanted Hari Krishna, his attacker, in an effort to distract him. But this just confused Michael.


The struggle led the three Michael, George and Olivia through three rooms of the mansion.


And that didn't stop until Olivia struck Michael with a lamp that finally it was the act that caused him to drop his weapon. However, when he attacked Olivia and attempted to strangle her with the lamp cord, she finally escaped that and she escaped with minor injuries and bruises. Unlike George, she didn't require hospitalization. Despite their injuries, the pair were able to overpower the intruder until authorities arrived.


I have to say, if you didn't already just respects George Harrison for his musical genius, you have to have mad respect for him with a punctured lung. Yes. Working together with his wife to subdue someone who is clearly not in their right place and violent. As it turns out, the police station was just shy of a quarter of a mile down the road. So the police were at the estate quite quickly, just in a blink of an eye.


And when they arrived, they found this bloody scene and they arrested Michael, the couple's 21 year old son. And Olivia's mother, it's reported, were at home during the attack, but neither of them were injured.


Can you imagine hearing that if you were in the other part of the House? Terrifying, it would be very terrifying. Yeah. So when questioned about Michael Abrahim, his family, his friends, his neighbors gave that comment and ever so cliched answer.


And we all know he was a mild mannered family later said that Michael had recently developed an obsession with the Beatles and he was already released on bail for allegedly criminally damaging a Beatles advertising billboard in Liverpool. Investigators believed George was likely specifically targeted by Michael when he attacked Harrison. He stated that he believed he had been sent by God to murder him.


Michael also believed all of the Beatles were witches and that George specifically was trying to possess him.


And this is really not where it ends. According to psychiatrist Philip Joseph, Michael's mental stability began to significantly deteriorate after the eclipse of August 1999, interestingly enough. And that is when Michael believed that the world would come to an end. And at that time, Michael also began to believe that Madonna could read his mind. He thought that the Oasis song Wonderwall was actually about the walls of his own apartment. And perhaps most interesting is that he also believed that he was the fifth Beatle.


Before his Oxford Crown Court trial, Michael was admitted to a psychiatric unit for observation, Michael had reportedly been in and out of psychiatric hospitals over the years. And just six weeks before this attack, he was released from the psychiatric unit at Whiston Hospital because he was deemed by the staff not to have any psychiatric illness, but they were obviously wrong.


During observation, three psychiatrists unanimously diagnosed him with a complex, delusional disorder. So although this didn't really happen all that long ago, today's experts probably would more likely have said that he was suffering from untreated schizophrenia with paranoia and may have been having delusions as well.


Olivia, George's wife, described Michael as, quote, crazed and frenzied on the night of the attack that his hair was long and unkempt and that he wore a black leather jacket. She also said, this is so creepy to me that throughout the attack he was silent. He did not say a word, which she describes as and we're quoting her odd.


An investigation into the attack determined that it wasn't a burglary gone wrong, that it was a planned attack on George and Michael was charged with attempted murder. When he appeared in court, Michael had short blond hair, he wore a black pinstripe suit, a white shirt, a pink tie and round spectacles, he showed no emotion at the reading of the statement that George had given to the police after the attack. And he stated that he was grateful to his family and to his lawyers who all continue to support him.


And he said, quote, If I could turn back the clock, I would give anything not to have done what I did in attacking George Harrison. But looking back on it now, I have come to understand that I was at the time not in control of my actions. I can only hope the Harrison family might somehow find it in their hearts to accept my apologies. In addition, at the close of the trial, he gave another statement apologizing to the Harrisons for his actions and it was read aloud in court by his attorney.


And we quote here. I'm writing this letter in the hope that it would be passed on to Mr. and Mrs. Harrison, I wish to say how sorry I am for the alarm, distress and injury that I have caused while I was ill. I have seen many doctors prior to the attack and I was never told I was suffering from schizophrenia or any mental illness. I thought my delusions were real and everything that I was experiencing was some kind of witchcraft.


I know that Mr. and Mrs. Harrison fought for their lives and that they must have been terrified by the lunatic in their house. The jury took just over an hour to return its verdict. Michael was found not guilty by reason of insanity and he was sentenced to Scott Clinic. That's a medium security mental health unit without time restriction. He was released from that facility in 2002.


George, who was originally taken to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, was moved to the thoracic unit at Harefield Hospital, where he could be treated by specialists. He did not attend the trial because he was still recovering from his injuries. And George was it was once quoted as saying, and this wasn't immediately after this attack. This was just in general, he was saying that the whole magnitude of our fame made me nervous, which actually really becomes clear in these two weeks of his life.


Yeah, across the world, two attacks is very scary. The chief executive of the Royal Berkshire, who is a man named Mark Gretton, was quoted at the time saying that although Harrison was shocked by the incident, he had not lost his sense of humor. He shared that George had told him, we quote, The man wasn't a burglar, but he certainly wasn't auditioning for the Traveling Wilburys.


It was great that you could still laugh about it. That's funny. Well, I remember George as the Beatles guitarist who wrote and sang songs including Here Comes the Sun and While My Guitar Gently Weeps. He did die of cancer in 2001 at the age of 58. And that was just one year before Michael Abrams was released.


Upon his death, Paul McCartney told reporters of Harrison, quote, He was a lovely guy and a very brave man and had a wonderful sense of humor. He is really just my baby brother. And Ringo Starr said, and this is also a quote, We will miss George for his sense of love, his sense of music and his sense of laughter.


And there's also one more quote from the former Beatles producer, Sir George Martin, who described Harrison as a, quote, very peaceful person who hates violence of any kind. So that is George Harrison. So, Holly, please tell me that you named this Eleanor whiskey.


I didn't, but it does have wisky because I love you.


Because you love me.


So I briefly thought about something with Rootbeer because of the first entry, but I shied away from that. And then, of course, like, the obvious thing is to figure out a drink called a Sgt. Pepper. But if you do a quick Internet search, you discover that a million people have done a Sgt. Pepper. Right.


And I mean, Mr. Mustard is probably going to go in your direction. Right. But I still really like the idea of something with Pepper in it. So I decided on a drink that I am calling the pepper sergeant. Hmm. And it starts with two ounces of whiskey. And into that whiskey, you are going to put a tablespoon of lopiano jam jam, I would do at this point the whiskey neat. I wouldn't add any ice at this point.


And you let the jam and the whiskey sit together just a little bit and then give it a stir so that your sugar can dissolve into the whiskey and then you pop your ice into your glass on top of it and then you just top it off with club soda.


Oh. That's really easy. It's really easy and it's really interesting and fun and it's quite light. Like one of my problems with whiskey is that the taste of it to my palate is very hard and heavy because you're diluting the whole thing. You just end up with kind of a light, crisp tasting, really surprisingly refreshing beverage. So jalapeno jam is sort set also for anybody that just is similarly struggles with whiskey. You can put any jam in whiskey.


You can do the same exact thing with like a fake jam. You can do like an app Ricot Jam, which is also very the the key is that you have to just be ready for the fact that depending on the nature of your jam, mine was a homemade jam. So it had definitely like chunks of chopped up jalapeno in it. So you just have to know that there's going to be some texture to your cocktail. And if you're not into that, you could stream it after you dissolve the the jam into the whiskey.


But I actually like that extra little kick that you get from like, oh, a piece of spinach just hit my tongue. That's the peppery sergeant. It's like a little surprise. Surprise.


Well, that's excellent. A whiskey drink. I never thought it would happen.


Like a Jambi whiskey drink. I've done others. Yes. Yes, I've done others. I'm forever trying to figure out ways I can mend my relationship with whiskey.


We never had a falling out. We just we circle each other. We have a lot of friends in common, but we never really have quite hit it off. That's my relationship with whiskey. But it's getting better. We're working on it. We're trying to set up some outings, seeing each other more often.


Just hang out, find our commonalities. We do it. That's how you make friends with the the spirit that you don't normally drink. Yeah. If you do start experimenting with jam your whiskey, drink responsibly. We also want to thank you for hanging out with us and listening to our stories in our nutty drink recipes. Can't wait to see you back here next week for more criminally. Criminality is a production of Shandley and audio in partnership with I Heart Radio for more podcasts from chandeliered audio.


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