By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
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A court ordered Au to stay at least 150 yards away from Grazer as well as Ann Ciulla and her three young children until January 2015. Ciulla had the misfortune of going on a blind date with Grazer on Dec. 26, 2003. They drank cocktails at Gulfstream and dined at Chat Noir. They didn't know they were being tailed. A police investigation later discovered that Au had rented a white Ford Focus that same day.
After the doctor took Ciulla to her home, he noticed a white Ford Focus tailing him closely. Spooked, he drove to Newport Beach police headquarters near Fashion Island. Au didn't fall for the trap, but her night was far from over.
Ciulla, clueless about Au, woke the next morning to find her front porch vandalized. At his own home, Grazer found his Hummer had been keyed. This time someone had made huge horizontal scratches on the driver's door.
On Dec. 30, Ciulla found that someone had used dirt and flowers to construct a grave at her front door. The word "SLUT" was written on her front door. Her garage door carried this handwritten message: "In my opinion nicely paid call girl in neighborhood; Men, hold onto your wallets; Ladies, hold onto your men; Compliments of the Jon, December 26."
Told of the vandalism, Grazer informed Ciulla that Au had been stalking him.
On New Year's Eve, Ciulla left for vacation but was called by an alarmed neighbor. Someone had used a screwdriver to gouge holes in her home's doors and a black ink marker to write "CALL GIRL" on the garage door. Red syrup that looked like blood had been poured on her patio. Terrorized, Ciulla wouldn't go home. She took her kids and temporarily relocated to a friend's house.
Au still wasn't finished.
Late at night on Jan. 3, 4 and 5, witnesses saw a white Ford Focus in Ciulla's neighborhood and parked near Ciulla's empty residence. In the following days, police detectives learned that Au had switched to a leased red Mitsubishi. The cops informed Grazer. Later that night he saw the car parked near his office. Police arrived and questioned Au, who gave them two bogus stories to explain away her presence. Pressed, she finally admitted she was there to spy on the doctor. Officers found her carrying a screwdriver, a calendar containing detailed information on Grazer's activities and notes containing the license plate numbers for vehicles belonging to the doctor, his friends, his family members and Ciulla.
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Au didn't testify at her September 2004 trial. But according to court records, she told people that she was the stalking victim, that an unknown caller had lured her to Ciulla's neighborhood in a trap and that the stories told by Grazer and his friends, family and employees were lies. She said other men whom she'd dated would vouch for her character. Au also wanted to know why Newport Beach cops never tested the spit left on Grazer's car for DNA. This test would have proven her innocence, she claimed.
Prosecutor Charles Ragland dismissed the spit argument as a red herring and suggested someone had watched too many CSI episodes. He said there was more than sufficient evidence to prove not just her guilt but lack of remorse. An Orange County jury agreed. She was convicted of two felony stalking counts.
After the verdicts, Ron Cordova—her own defense lawyer—told a county probation officer that Au had "antisocial" tendencies, was "obviously obsessed" with Grazer and needed to be incarcerated. Superior Court Judge Richard Toohey sentenced her to a two-year prison term and reduced Grazer's restitution demand from $59,000 in damages to $24,000 because of a lack of receipts.
From her Chowchilla, California, prison cell in July 2005, Au appealed her convictions as fraudulent and the restraining orders as unnecessary. She alleged misconduct by the prosecutor, the judge and her own lawyer. "Some evidence which should have been presented was not, and some that was presented should not have been," she wrote.
In mid-October 2006, a state court of appeal based in Santa Ana rejected Au's motions. The justices said there was "overwhelming evidence" of her guilt. However, the court did overturn Judge Toohey's restitution order by claiming he'd never given Au a chance to challenge the expenses. That matter remains unresolved.
But here's something for all single Southern California men to contemplate: Au is now free. Prison officials released her eight months into her two-year sentence. She returned to Orange County, lives in her Rancho Santa Margarita condo and works in marketing.
No word yet on if she's back in the dating game.