A Lawrenceville man received a 10-year sentence — with at least three years to spend in prison — for stalking his ex-girlfriend after they broke up.
There is also a permanent restraining order against him as well.
William Lee Smith, 42, was convicted of aggravated stalking Friday. He was accused of showing up in his ex-girlfriend’s neighborhood and at her workplace after they broke up.
“The victim testified about significant lifestyle changes that the defendant had caused,” prosecutors said. “She would always back into parking spaces in case she need to leave quickly, she had surveillance cameras installed, she felt like she was always looking over her shoulder and was always on the lookout in public.”
Officials at the Gwinnett District Attorney’s Office said Smith and his girlfriend were were in a relationship from January until July of 2016, which is when they broke up.
That is when he began following her and showing up in her neighborhood and at her workplace, according to prosecutors.
The ex-girlfriend took out a protective order against Smith on Nov. 17, 2016. A week later, she claimed he drove up along side her while she jogged and begged her for another chance at a relationship. She ran home and called police, but prosecutors said officers could not do anything because there were no photos or video of him approaching her.
Shortly thereafter, prosecutors said that on Dec. 1, 2016, the ex-girlfriend saw Smith in parking lot of her workplace when she arrived at her job.
“Upon seeing her, he attempted to leave the parking lot,” the DA’s office said. “The victim decided to follow him and attempt to take photos of him to prove to the police that he was again violating the stalking order. She was able to take several photos of the Defendant driving away from her work and called the police.”
Smith also called the police to complain about his ex-girlfriend taking photos of him.
“The responding officer spoke with the defendant over the phone and was not satisfied with his explanation for being in the area,” prosecutors said. “The defendant said he was in the area for an appointment but was unable to provide a name or contact information for anyone he was supposed to be meeting. The officer obtained a warrant and the defendant was arrested five days later.”
The ex-girlfriend also accused Smith of driving around her workplace and her neighborhood on two occasions after he was arrested, but did not have proof that those incidents occurred.
Meanwhile, prosecutors had three other ex-girlfriends of Smith testify against him at his trial.
“Each one testified to similar experiences with the defendant,” prosecutors said. “Each one of them had to obtain restraining orders at the end of their relationships with the defendant. One of the more concerning prior incidents involved the defendant hiding in the woods behind an ex-girlfriend’s house and coming up and starting an argument when he heard his ex-girlfriend talking to another person about him.
“The defendant appeared and said he had been listening for 30 minutes. He then engaged another male in a fight that resulted in the other victim being sent to the hospital with serious injuries.”
Prosecutors said Smith denied most of the allegations made against him by his ex-girlfriends, except for the one about the altercation with another man.
“He stated that was ‘an unfortunate situation,’” prosecutors said.