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Drifter convicted of stalking Mel Gibson

Man acted as own attorney, gave no closing argument
/ Source: The Associated Press

An Idaho drifter who claimed he was on a mission from God to pray with actor-director Mel Gibson was convicted of felony stalking Friday.

Jurors deliberated for less than three hours before finding 34-year-old Zack Sinclair guilty.

Sinclair could face 16 months to 3 years in prison.

Sinclair, a fan of Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” was arrested in September after repeatedly going to the gate of the actor-director’s Malibu estate and asking Gibson to pray with him.

Gibson testified that he was attending church services in September when he got up briefly and returned to find Sinclair sitting in his seat. Sinclair moved within a few inches of his face, Gibson said, telling him, “Hi, I’m here to pray with you.”

The actor noted that Sinclair “wasn’t scary or overtly threatening,” but still feared for his family’s safety.

Sinclair acted as his own attorney during the week-long trial. But he passed up the chance to talk directly to Gibson when he declined to cross-examine him. He also declined to deliver a closing argument.

While in custody on Oct. 6, Sinclair was served with a restraining order that prohibited him from coming near Gibson or his family for three years.

He was released the same day; the next day, he was re-arrested for allegedly violating the court order by returning to Gibson’s home.

A spokesman for Gibson said Friday the actor had no immediate comment on the verdict.