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11:52 AM Sun, Nov. 18th

Woman gets jail, probation for stalking police

Laura Jean Christianson, 43, of Prescott was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 15 years of intense supervised probation after pleading guilty to felony charges including stalking police officers.

"If that doesn't catch your attention, then you'll face serious consequences," Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley said, crediting Christianson with 137 days already served. "If you come back to the court, we'll be more concerned about punishment than rehabilitation."

Christianson reportedly drove past a police officer's home, waited in her car nearby, and showed up on calls he answered in late November 2011. Witnesses said she almost hit their van on Nov. 27, and a Prescott police officer saw her following another officer on April 14, 2012.

As part of the plea agreement, Christianson pleaded guilty to two counts of stalking - class 5 felonies - aggravated harassment, and vehicular endangerment.

"If probation is violated, you face up to 2 1/2 years on each of the class 5 felony charges," Ainley told Christianson. "This is the point where you decide if you are going to break old habits, patterns, start fresh, and not have any further contact with the criminal justice system."

Christianson's attorney John E. Kelly said, "She's taking this case very seriously. We've come up with a comprehensive plan to prevent her from succumbing to her past actions."

Christianson, a former nurse, plans to take college classes at Yavapai College toward a new career, go to counseling, do community service at her church, and volunteer at Dead Horse Ranch State Park and Quilts for Hospitals, Kelly said.

Kelly said the almost five months she's been in jail have not helped with Christianson's past alcoholism and mental health issues.

"She's capable of this and her family is making sure she's on the right track," Kelly said. "She has several felony charges related to this case, but there have been no indications of violence or of her taking the stalking to the next level."

Intense supervised probation is appropriate in Christianson's case, said Deputy County Attorney Cynthia Spitler.

"I do think that level of supervision is necessary," Spitler said.

Probation terms also state Christianson cannot have access to firearms, Spitler said.

"Officers and officers' families were afraid her actions would escalate and were concerned about her access to firearms," Spitler said.

When Ainley accepted the plea agreement, she asked Christianson if there was anything she'd like to say.

"I would just ask for mercy on the part of the court," Christianson said. "I'd like to start anew. I've been a professional all my life, and I want to start over. I have remorse for my actions."

As part of probation, Christianson must actively take part in counseling directed by the probation office, cannot possess or use alcohol, will complete 200 hours of community service, and have no contact with the victims or their families, Ainley said.