A delusional fan who unleashed his crude fantasies about Ashanti in a battery of text messages to her mother was sentenced Thursday to two years in jail, though his judge rued not being able to send him to psychological treatment instead.
A downcast Devar Hurd said he didn't mean to annoy or alarm the Grammy Award-winning R&B singer and her family when he sent the messages. Some included photos of his genitals and a picture of the family's Long Island home with a comment about stopping by to visit.
"My intent was not to harm," he told the judge. "I always wish the best for (Ashanti)."
Hurd, 31, was convicted in December of stalking and aggravated harassment. Ashanti's mother and manager, Tina Douglas, said she was glad to see the case closed with his sentencing.
"We're really so glad to have this behind us, and we feel justice has been served," she said through a spokeswoman.
Douglas told jurors the messages disgusted her and spurred her to hire extra security personnel. One message envisioned Hurd someday living with the multiplatinum-selling singer; another said his mental state "is very fragile with all this."
Hurd said the messages were intended as friendly repartee, "sex texting" and jokes, and he didn't think Douglas would mind them.
The would-be rapper from Griffith, Ind., didn't raise any psychiatric issues during his trial, where he gave jurors a lengthy account of what he described as a friendship and brewing business relationship with Douglas.
She said she didn't know Hurd and told him to leave her alone, to no avail.
Mental-health treatment couldn’t be arranged
After Hurd was convicted, doctors diagnosed him as having a delusional disorder, Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber said. But months of efforts to arrange probation with mental-health treatment were unsuccessful, in part because Hurd has nowhere to live in New York, Farber said.
He gave Hurd the maximum possible sentence for the misdemeanor offenses, noting the fear Douglas said she felt because of the messages. Farber recommended psychiatric treatment for Hurd in jail.
"It's obvious to me that you need to get help," the judge said.
"Even if he believes that Ashanti was in love with him, his conduct was not that of a man wooing a woman. He was not sending her flowers," but rather barraging her mother with messages any parent would find objectionable, Assistant District Attorney Carolina Holderness said.
Hurd has been jailed since his July arrest, time that will count toward his sentence.
Ashanti didn't testify at the trial, and no one in her family attended Hurd's sentencing.
Raised in Glen Cove, N.Y., Ashanti signed her first record deal at 14. She has recorded hits including "Foolish" and "Only U."
She also has acted in such films as "Coach Carter" and "John Tucker Must Die" and starred as Dorothy in an off-Broadway revival of "The Wiz" this summer.