Suspected King stalker enters not guilty plea

This story was published on Nov. 18, 2003 on Page A1 in all editions of the Bangor Daily News

BANGOR – A 38-year-old Czech man faces deportation after he pleaded not guilty to stalking Stephen and Tabitha King at their West Broadway home over the weekend.

By Monday afternoon, Bretislav Bures was in the custody of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, just a few hours after he appeared in 3rd District Court in Bangor.

He was arrested Sunday afternoon sitting in his car across from the couple’s Victorian mansion. Bures will spend the next few days in the Cumberland County Jail, according to Maria Hurley of BICE’s Portland office. He then will be transferred to either Boston or Hartford for removal proceedings.

Bures allegedly left notes twice last week on the King mailbox that asked to speak with Stephen King, according to the police report filed in court Monday. Tabitha King told police Sunday afternoon that Bures had approached her about 9 p.m. Saturday while she was walking the dog.

According to the report, Bures allegedly drove up to Tabitha King as she was walking on the sidewalk, got out of his car and said, ‘”I see you just came from the King residence. I need to see him, this is concerning national security.’”

Tabitha King told police she saw the same man in the same car parked in their driveway around noon Sunday. She told her husband, who went outside and asked Bures what he wanted, according to the report. Bures asked to come inside the house to talk with King. The author refused and told him that if he did not leave, King would call the police.

King told police he was fearful of this man, “so much so that when he came back into the house he went upstairs and loaded his handgun,” according to the report signed by Officer Butch Moor.

Police arrived about 12:20 p.m. and found Bures sitting in his car in the Kings’ driveway. Bures showed the officer a Czech ID and driver’s license, according to the report. After Moor explained the state’s criminal trespass law, Bures left the property and parked across the street. He was arrested about 3 p.m. and taken to Penobscot County Jail.

A thin man with shoulder-length blond hair, Bures spoke in court Monday with an Eastern European accent. A copy of the note he allegedly left at the King house was attached to the police report and filed in District Court.

Clad in bright orange pants, shirt and slippers worn by many inmates at Penobscot County Jail, Bures answered District Court Judge Ann Murray’s questions and conferred with David Bate, the Bangor attorney appointed to represent him at Monday’s proceeding.

When Jim Diehl, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, told the judge that Bures had been arrested in Georgia on a drunken driving charge, Bures interrupted him to tell the judge that he had been found not guilty of that charge after a jury trial.

Bures’ address is listed in court documents as Austell, Ga., a town of about 5,400 that lies about 16 miles west of Atlanta. Police said Monday afternoon they had no information on the ownership of the vehicle Bures was in when he was arrested.

Through attorney Bate, the Czech man told the court he worked as a carpenter in Georgia and was in Maine on vacation. He also indicated he could not make bail because he had “only $1.75 to his name.”

Bangor attorney Seth Harrow attended the proceeding on the Kings’ behalf. He told reporters after bail was set for Bures that he did not know what the man intended, but that his behavior toward the Kings was “inappropriate.”

Although it turned out to be a moot point, bail was set at $500 cash with conditions that Bures have no contact with the Kings, not be on West Broadway between Union and Hammond streets, at the King-owned radio station on Broadway or the couple’s office on Florida Avenue. The conditions included not being in Hayford Park behind the Kings’ home – that includes Mansfield Park, the baseball diamond the couple donated to the city.

Bures’ arrest appeared to be the first incident at the Kings’ home since 1991 when a Texas man, who claimed he had a bomb, broke into the house while Tabitha King was home alone. She ran to a neighbor’s house and called police.

Erik Keene, then 26, of San Antonio, Texas, told reporters he broke into the house because Stephen King allegedly stole the plot for his best seller “Misery” from Keene’s aunt. He was sentenced to two years with all but 127 days suspended after pleading guilty to burglary. After serving his sentence, he was extradited to Texas on a parole violation.

Stephen King is scheduled to receive this year’s National Book Foundation medal for lifetime achievement at the National Book Awards ceremony in New York this week.

TEXT OF NOTE

HELP ME MY DEAR KING, please!

Bretislav Bures

I am driving time to time around your house. I am Czech, so you can put my flag on house to invite me.

Did I mentioned with book, that I am camping in my small car around Bangor and waiting without a dollar in my pocket? No? Stupid me! Need shower, so bad! So please let me in.

A1 for Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2003

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