JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A sentencing hearing took place Friday for a Jacksonville man who pleaded guilty to burglary and stalking charges after being accused of breaking into a San Marco condominium belonging to his former high school classmate last year with handcuffs, a Taser and a knife.
A judge declined to make a ruling on the sentence for Paul Kartsonis, 32, who entered a guilty plea in December to charges of armed burglary, aggravated stalking and possession of burglary tools, according to Duval County court records.
On Friday, the courtroom was full of emotion. The defendant and his family members apologized repeatedly to his former classmate, who prosecutors said he stalked and obsessed over, saying this is the result of mental illness.
“I just wanted to say that I am deeply sorry for what I did to you,” Kartsonis said before the judge and the woman he admitted stalking. “I never wanted to hurt you but I realize that is exactly what I’ve done.”
That woman, in her early 30s, went to high school with Kartsonis and was his date to a dance. Since then, he said he has obsessed over her. News4Jax has chosen not to show her face or identify her for privacy reasons, but she sitting feet away in the courtroom, in tears, as the prosecutor spoke.
“Paul’s criminal actions, because that’s what they are, have devastated the life of a woman who is a contributing member of society — a woman who has lost her sense of safety, trust, self-sufficiency and independence,” said prosecutor Lara Mattina. “And, as a woman, that is the most devastating fundamental thing to lose.”
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Kartsonis was caught May 31 breaking into the woman‘s San Marco condo and stealing her clothes, including underwear. Police found handcuffs, a Taser, a knife and adults toys on him, and said he was wearing some of her clothing. They said he also had a GPS tracker on her car.
“Why were there handcuffs?” questioned Mattina. “Why was there a knife?”
The judge did not make a decision Friday. He will be going over everything he heard during the hearing and will make a ruling Wednesday.
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