The first case we are going to discuss is one that is scarily close to home. It is the murder of podcaster Zohreh Sadeghi (33) and her husband by a stalker.
Zohreh was a tech podcaster who lived in Redmond, Washington.
Her linked in says that she was a Software Engineer at Promontory MortgagePath LLC. She described herself on the website:
I am a driven, self-motivated individual, looking to expand my horizons by learning to build software the right way, as part of a bigger team. I am self-sufficient and thrive in ambi- guity.
She lived with her husband Mohammed Naseri in a $1.6m home in Redmond. Redmond is a popular area for tech people to live in as it houses the headquarters of Microsoft.
A neighbor named Jamie Lynn Burns spoke to the media about how friendly the couple were.
“They were just so friendly and inviting. We were like, ‘Oh my gosh, we couldn’t have found better neighbors.’”
I believe that Zohreh’s mother was staying with the couple at the time – I have read that Zohreh had back surgery recently and wasn’t as mobile as before, so I am not sure if the mother was living there permanently or was there to assist her daughter while she was recovering.
Zohreh’s podcast was aimed at helping Farsi-speaking people find jobs in the tech industry. I believe the podcast is how Zohreh came in contact with her soon-to-be stalker, Ramin Khodakaramrezaei.
As some background into Ramin, I believe he was originally from Texas. He had been married to a woman named Neda Meshabim for seven years prior to this incident and they had a daughter. The couple had divorced but were still close. His ex wife said Ramin often shared details about his love life with her since the two are from Iran and don’t have relatives in the US. Ramin owned his own trucking company in Texas.
Ramin came across the show through the app ClubHouse and he started emailing and messaging Zoreh following that.
Redmond Police spokesperson Jill Green told the Daily Beast:
“Apparently he got to know her because of a podcast that she was doing and they struck up kind of a friendship, talked. But then he began to just send a lot of messages to the point that she decided to disengage and talk to us and our investigators in getting a restraining order.”
Redmond Police Chief Darrell Lowe said that Zohreh got in touch with police regarding “harassing behavior” in late 2022 after Ramin repeatedly contacted her by text and over the phone. He allegedly once called her over 100 times in a single day before resorting to in-person stalking.
The officer also said that the Ramin followed Zohreh to a conference in Denver “in the latter part of 2022” and had visited her residence prior to the night of the murder.
Zohreh told police that Ramin called her more than 10 times a day and left more than 20 daily messages for her husband — some “vulgar, angry and threatening.”
After Zohreh filed the first complaint on November 6, 2022, Ramin continued to call her throughout November and December and he even traveled to the area to stay in hotels close to her home.
Zohreh wrote in the protection order that Ramin “has bursts of anger” and his “delusions make me fear for my life and the lives of my loved ones.’
She also said that Ramin said he would show up at her door, “burn himself” and “set fire” on her house by burning the tree that she loves.
She also wrote that the man sent her voicemails saying he won’t let her go and the “only thing that will make all this stop is if he killed himself or died.”
She also wrote about how she feared her decreased mobility would make her an easy target.
“I had a major back surgery, and my mobility has been affected, and I need care 24/7,” she wrote. “This makes me fear about my ability to respond to a crisis, especially because Mr. Khodakaramrezaei has ignored all other avenues.”
“All of this has caused me great distress and pain, and now I am suffering from a deep-seated fear for my safety. It has taken a toll on my recovery. I haven’t been able to open the curtains in my bedroom out of fear of him being outside watching me.”
The protection order was 12 pages long, filled with information about inappropriate communication by Ramin. She outlined in the document that Ramin said the only way he would leave her alone is if she was dead.
On December 20, Ramin went to Zohreh’s house to deliver flowers to her. He waited to go to the door until her husband had left the house. He also sent her gifts on two other occasions and had once arranged for a jazz band to play outside her house for two hours. Thankfully, this ‘concert’ was cancelled before it began.
Ramin’s ex-wife has also said that he told her that he was dating Zohreh and that he did not believe she was married. He then told her that he and Zohreh had broken up against his wishes. She said her ex-husband’s behavior changed after that. She said he was crying the final few times she spoke with him.
As Ramin was a long-haul trucker, police allegedly had trouble tracking him down to serve the protection order to. The police spokesperson Jill Green said “Our detectives had warrants to get information from his phone and were trying to serve the no contact order to the suspect [but] had not done so yet. Being that he is a trucker, he’s hard to pin down.”
Ramin’s stalking of Zohreh continued right up until the time of the murders. On February 28, 2023, he left her two voicemails which she said were “vulgar, angry, and threatening.” She also said he installed an app on his phone to record her without consent.
In the early morning hours of Friday March 10, 2023, Ramin broke into Zohreh’s house, where she, her husband and her mother were sleeping. He broke into through the window of Zohreh’s mother’s bedroom, where the two had an altercation. Thankfully, the mother managed to flee the house and run to a neighbor for help.
Zohreh’s husband Mohammed was shot and he tried to flee the scene before collapsing and dying in the front yard. He had been shot in the chest.
When police entered the home, they found Zohreh and Ramin both deceased. Both were found in the primary bedroom of the house. Zohreh had been shot to death and Ramin died from a self-inflicted gunshot.
After the murders, Police Chief Darrell Lowe spoke : “A restraining order is simply a piece of paper that allows officers to take enforcement action should a suspect violate the court order. But a piece of paper does not protect a person when someone is intent on causing them harm. In this case, the victim did everything that they possibly could. It’s a tragic event.”
One of the most documented cases of stalking resulting in murder is that of Rebecca Schaeffer.
Rebecca was 21 when she was murdered in LA in July 1989.
Rebecca was born November 6, 1967 in Eugene, Oregon. Her parents were Danna and Dr Benson Schaeffer. She was their only child. She was raised in Portland, Oregon and attended Lincoln High School.
Rebecca apparently aspired at an early age to become a Rabbi. She changed her mind when she was offered some teen modelling roles. In 1984 when she was 16, she worked with Elite Model Management in NYC for the summer and with her parents’ permission, she stayed there to pursue a modelling career.
In late 1984, Rebecca began her acting career. She had roles on Guiding Light, One Life to Live and My Sister Sam amongst others. She also had supporting roles in several movies.
A man named Robert John Bardo began stalking Rebecca in 1986. He would have been around 16 at that time and she would have been around 18.
Robert had previously been obsessed with child peace activist Samantha Smith, who was killed in a plane crash at age 13 in 1985. Robert traveled to Maine at one point in an attempt to meet Samantha but he was stopped by police and turned around.
After Samantha died, he turned his attention to Rebecca. He wrote her numerous letters and she replied to one of those. Rebecca responded, writing that his letter was “the most beautiful” that she had ever received. On her letter, she drew a peace sign, a heart, and signed it: “With love from Rebecca.” The day Robert received the letter he wrote in his diary: When I think of her, I would like to become famous to impress her.
In 1987, he traveled to LA and attempted to get onto the set of My Sister Sam. He was turned away by security. He came back one month later, armed with a knife. Security again turned him away. He wrote in his diary at that time ‘ I don’t lose. Period.’
This rejection seems to have deterred him for a short while. He went back to Tucson, Arizona where he shifted his obsession towards Madonna and Tiffany.
Robert became obsessed with Rebecca again when he saw in her a scene from ‘Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills.’ In the scene, she was in bed with another actor. He decided that she should be punished for ‘becoming another Hollywood whore.’ He wrote in his diary that she had become ‘one more of the bitches of Hollywood.’
Robert paid a private detective agency $250 to find Rebecca’s home address from DMV records. His brother helped him buy a handgun. I have read online that Robert tried to buy a gun and was denied.
“When Robert John Bardo tried to purchase a Ruger GP100 .357 magnum at Jensen’s Firearms in Tucson Az. in the summer of 1989, he filled out the paperwork answering yes to having been committed to a mental facility, a disqualification. (He was also underage but he had a fake Driver’s License that would have worked.)
The salesman, a member of the Air Force named Bob, told him he could not purchase the revolver. Bardo got irate and said he wanted to fill out another copy, the salesman sought out help and Jerome Larochelle who also worked at Jensen’s, told the guy absolutely no way and he told Bardo he could not own a firearm and to “Get the fuck out!” (Because he did not like the vibes he got from him!) The two then escorted Bardo from the store.
Larochelle, his friend Bob and the Manager on duty at Jensen’s hung Bardo’s disqualified form on the bulletin board and wrote “DO NOT SELL TO THIS INDIVIDUAL!”
The next morning Bardo came in with his brother who purchased the same Ruger GP100 revolver and gave it to his brother when they were out side of the shop, (a violation of federal law. His brother would have known that because it asks you that question on the form and warns that such ‘straw man’ purchases are a violation of Federal Law!)
Robert went back to LA for the third time. He walked around the neighborhood where Rebecca lived, asking people if she lived there and if they had seen her.
Once he was certain that the address he had for her was correct, he rang the doorbell. Rebecca was waiting for a movie script to be delivered so she answered the door. Robert showed her the letter and autograph that she had previously sent him. She became creeped out (rightly so) and told him not to come to her house again.
He left and went to a diner and had breakfast.
He went back to her apartment an hour later and knocked on the door again. When Rebecca opened the door, he said she had a ‘cold look on her face.’
He pulled out the handgun that his brother had helped him buy and shot her twice in the chest at point blank range. As she fell to the ground, she uttered ‘Why?’.
Robert recounted the murder to police:
“She had this kid voice…sounded like a little brat or something…said I was wasting her time! …Wasting her time! No matter what, I thought that was a very callous thing to say to a fan, you know…I grabbed the door…guns still in the bag…I grab it by the trigger…I come around, and kapow, and she’s like screaming… aaahhh…screaming…why, aaahhh … and it’s like, oh God…”
A neighbor named Richard Goldman heard the gunshots and he rushed to the lobby and found Rebecca’s body. He saw a man in a yellow shirt (Robert) running away from the scene.
Rebecca was rushed to Cedars Sinai Medical Center where she was pronounced dead 30 minutes after her arrival.
Robert fled back to Tucson where he was arrested the next day. He was found after motorists called 911 to report a man running around in traffic on the Interstate. Once he was taken into custody, he confessed to Rebecca’s murder.
A year after the slaying, Robert gave an interview in which he stated, “I was a fan of hers and I may have carried it too far. But a lot of things have appeared in the press to make me out to be a monster. If I had one wish where if it was to ever come true it would be for Rebecca Schaeffer to be alive today.”
Robert was sentenced to life without parole by Superior Court Judge Dino Fulgoni on December 20, 1991. He made a statement:
“The idea I killed her for fame is totally ridiculous. I do realize the magnitude of what I’ve done. I don’t think it needs to be compounded by a bunch of lies because she’s an actress.”
Rebecca’s murder played a role in a law being established in California that prohibits the DMV from releasing addresses. It also prompted the LAPD to create their first Threat Management Team.
According to the legislation, a stalker is defined as “someone who willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses another victim and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place the victim or victim’s immediate family in fear of their safety.” There must be at least two incidents to constitute the crime and show a “continuity of purpose” or credible threat.
A more recent stalking murder case is that of Christina Grimmie. Christina was a singer and YouTuber who was murdered at age 22 in 2016 in Orlando, Florida.
Christina Victoria Grimmie was born to Tina and Albert Grimmie on March 12, 1994 in New Jersey. Christina had an older brother, Marcus.
When Christina was 6, her father noticed that she had a talent for singing. She started playing piano at age 10 and said she played by ear.
Christina began posting to YouTube in 2009 at age 15. Her user name was zeldaxlove64. She said that she started her YouTube channel so that people could connect with her music.
The first video she uploaded was a cover of Hannah Montana’s ‘Don’t Wanna Be Torn.’
In 2011, she placed second in a MyYouTube competition, behind Selena Gomez. She went on to perform backup vocals for Selena during the 2011 DigiTour. She opened for Selena and the Jonas Brothers during the Concert of Hope.
She released an EP in June 2011. It debuted at number 35 on the Billboard 200 chart. This is when things started to really ramp up for her. She appeared on the Ellen show in October 2011. She performed at the American Music Awards in November 2011.
Christina moved to LA in 2012 to pursue her singing career. She signed with Creative Artists Agency.
By April 2013, her YouTube channel had more than 375 million views and she had more than 2 million subscribers.
In 2014, Christina auditioned for The Voice. She performed Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball and all the judges (Adam Levine, Usher, Shakira and Blake Shelton) turned their chairs for her. She opted for Adam Levin after he told her that she had the potential to be a huge star. User said that she was a ‘baby Celine Dion’. Shakira said that her voice was ‘out of this world.’
Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber supported her during her time on The Voice. She finished in third place. Carson Daly said he was ‘shocked’ that she did not win.
So this info gives you some background as to where Christina was going. She was a rising star.
On June 10, 2016, Christina performed at the Plaza Live in Orlando, Florida. She posted earlier that day on her social media that she was going to be there and she asked her fans to attend the concert. It is estimated that round 300 fans attended.
She ended her performance at around 10pm and went to sign autographs inside the venue. Around 100 fans were waiting to meet her. At 10.24pm, a fab named Kevin James Loibl (27) walked up to Christina. He didn’t say a word. Christina mistook this for shyness and she opened her arms to give him a hug. Christina often did this if she thought a fan was too shy to say hello.
Kevin then pulled out a Glock 19 pistol and shot Christina three times at point blank range. Christina fell to the floor and a scuffle ensued between Kevin and Christina’s brother (who was her road manager). Kevin broke free and fatally shot himself.
CPR was performed on Christina and she was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center in critical condition. She was pronounced dead just before 11pm that night. An autopsy showed that Christina had been shot three times – once in the head and twice in the chest.
When police examined Kevin’s body, they found two handgun magazines in his pocket, a knife strapped to his ankle, a Florida driver’s license, a ticket to Christina’s show and a hotel key for the Courtyard by Marriott in Orlando.
Police went to the hotel and showed the front desk manager a photo of Kevin. The manager ‘instantly’ asked if he was the suspect in Christina’s shooting. The manager said he was ‘strange’. He had checked into the hotel the day before the concert, had no luggage and had paid $269 for the room. Police investigated the hotel room Kevin had stayed in:
“There was no luggage; no personal belongings visible and the bed looked as if he slept on top of the covers. In the trash it appeared he had purchased some food from the hotel snack bar and ate it in his room,” the report says.
Police spoke to Kevin’s family who said that he rarely left his room except to go to his job at Best Buy. They had never heard him mention Christina and never saw him watch The Voice. They didn’t know he owned guns. They did say he spent a ‘great deal of time on the computer in his room’.
Kevin’s Best Buy supervisor Luke Dahl described him as ‘socially awkward and detached.’ He said Kevin had no social skills and worked in the back of the store where he had no interaction with customers.
Kevin had encrypted his phone which meant that police were not able to extract any data from it. He had also intentionally destroyed the hard drive on his computer.
Cory Dennington who was Kevin’s friend for 15 years said that he was his ‘only friend in the world’. He told police that Kevin had become fixated on Christina over the past year. He said that Kevin ‘watched everything having to do with her.’
Cory said Kevin “spent most of his waking hours watching Christina on YouTube as well as constantly monitoring her social media accounts. Despite following her on social media, Kevinl himself did not have a Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media account,” the police report says.
Kevin claimed he had been an atheist but told Cory that Christina’s Christianity had spurred a change of heart. He told Cory that Christina had ‘helped him to see the world in a different way.’
Before the murder, Kevin lost 50 lbs, underwent Lasik surgery, had his teeth whitened and got hair implants. He told Cory that he had done it all for Christina.
Around two months before the murder, Cory became concerned about Kevin’s obsession with Christina. When he tried to raise the topic with Kevin, he would ‘become angry and defensive.’ Kevin told Cory that Christina was his soul mate.
At least five of Kevin’s Best Buy coworkers told police they knew of his obsession with Christina. They “would good naturedly tease Loibl about his ‘internet crush.’
In terms of security for the event, bags should have been checked but there were no metal detectors and attendees were not frisked.
Kevin had never been previously arrested and had purchased the two guns legally. He was in the police system for minor issues such as petty theft and a 2008 car accident. He was once accused of battery but no charges were filed after the victim became uncooperative.
Christina’s family released the following statement:
“It is with a heavy heart that we can confirm that Christina has passed and went home to be with the Lord,” Grimmie’s rep said in a statement. “She was shot at her show in Orlando and, unfortunately, didn’t survive the gun shot wounds. We ask at this time that you respect the privacy of her family and friends in their time of mourning. If you’d like to give back to Christina’s family in her memory, please consider donating to the families GoFundMe page in their time of need.”
Adam Levine also made a statement:
“Behati and I are absolutely devastated and heartbroken by Christina Grimmie’s tragic death. Our hearts go out to her family. Christina was a natural, a gifted talent that comes along so rarely. She was taken from us too soon. This is yet another senseless act of extreme violence. I am left stunned and confused how these things can conceivably continue to happen in our world.”