Robert John Bardo Biography | Robert John Bardo
Robert John Bardo (born January 2, 1970) is an American man serving life imprisonment without parole after being convicted in October 1991 for the murder of American actress and model Rebecca Schaeffer on July 18, 1989, whom he had stalked for three years.
Robert John Bardo Age
Robert John Bardo is 49 years old as of 2019. He was born on 2 January 1970, in Tucson, Arizona, United States
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Robert John Bardo Family
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Born January 2, 1970, to a Japanese mother and an alcoholic U.S. Air Force noncommissioned officer, Bardo was the youngest of seven children. Bardo and his family grew up in a classic military fashion, moving frequently until the family finally settled in Tucson, Arizona, when he was thirteen.
Bardo was abused by at least one of his siblings constantly. He was temporarily placed in a foster home after he threatened suicide and institutionalized when he was fifteen. He was diagnosed as severely emotionally handicapped and his family was deemed pathological and dysfunctional. After he was released, he soon dropped out of high school.
Despite having earned straight A’s, the only job he could get as a dropout was a janitor at Jack in the Box. Bardo became fixated by child peace activist Samantha Smith, but these fixations disappeared when Smith was killed in a plane crash on 1985. Sometime in 1986, his attention was caught again, this time by young actress Rebecca Schaeffer, who had modeled and appeared on the soap opera One Life to Live, but her real break came as Pam Dawber’s younger sister on the TV sitcom My Sister Sam. Bardo became obsessed with her in 1986. Although some other actresses caught his attention, Schaeffer was his primary interest.
He sent fan-mail, but that was intercepted and discarded by her agents and handlers. Bardo went to Los Angeles and, holding a teddy bear and a letter and tried to get onto the Warner Bros. studio lot to find Schaeffer. He made two attempts but was kicked out by security. In 1988, Schaeffer starred in the movie Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills. One scene featured Schaeffer having a love scene that enraged Bardo and made him believe the scene took away Schaeffer’s “morality”.
Inspired by a March 15, 1982 attempt on the life of actress Theresa Saldana by then-46-year-old drifter Arthur Jackson, Bardo hired a private detective, who obtained Schaeffer’s home address from the Department of Motor Vehicles for $4. Bardo got one of his older brothers to purchase a handgun and hollow-point bullets.
On July 18, 1989, Bardo went to Schaeffer’s home with a paper bag concealing his gun and a copy of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye; at the time, she had an appointment with Francis Ford Coppola to discuss a possible role in the film The Godfather, Part III. When Schaeffer answered the door, Bardo drew his handgun from the paper and shot Schaeffer once in the chest, then fled to Tucson.
Schaeffer died in the hospital thirty minutes later. Sometime prior to Bardo’s murder of Schaeffer, one of his sisters was sent a letter by him, which stated his obsession with the actress. When news broke of Schaeffer’s murder, she told L.A.P.D. about her brother’s obsession.
The day after the shooting, Bardo was arrested by Tuscon police and, after being tried, was eventually found guilty of first-degree murder in October 1991 and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. In July 2007, Bardo was stabbed eleven times at the prison yard of the Mule Creek State Prison by another inmate but survived.
Schaeffer’s murder, as well as the aforementioned attempted murder of Saldana, prompted then-Governor of California George Deukmejian to pass a law that forbade the Department of Motor Vehicles to disclose addresses and also inspired the L.A.P.D. to develop the first Threat Management Unit. The entire U.S., as well as Canada, started passing more anti-stalking laws to prevent similar incidents.
Robert John Bardo Early life
Bardo was the youngest of seven children. His mother was Korean and his father was a noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force. The family moved frequently and eventually settled in Tucson, Arizona in 1983. Bardo reportedly had a troubled childhood.
He was abused by one of his siblings and placed in foster care after he threatened to commit suicide. Bardo’s family had a history of mental illness, and he himself was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. At the age of 15, he was institutionalized for a month to treat emotional problems. Bardo dropped out of Pueblo Magnet High School in the ninth grade and began working as a janitor at Jack in the Box.
In the 18 months prior to Schaeffer’s murder, Bardo had been arrested three times on charges that included domestic violence and disorderly conduct. Bardo’s neighbors also said that he had exhibited unexplained strange and threatening behavior toward them.
Robert John Bardo Now
As a consequence of Bardo’s actions and his methods of obtaining Schaeffer’s address, the U.S. Congress passed the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits state Departments of Motor Vehicles from disclosing the home addresses of state residents.
The season 2 episode of Law and Order, “Star Struck”, was partially based on this case.
On July 27, 2007, Bardo was stabbed 11 times on his way to breakfast in the maximum-security unit at Mule Creek State Prison in Amador County, California. Two inmate-made weapons were found at the scene. He was treated at the UC Davis Medical Center and returned to prison, officials said. The suspect in the attack was another convict, serving 82 years to life for second-degree murder.
As of 2019, Bardo is serving his life sentence at the Avenal State Prison in Avenal, California.
Robert John Bardo Murder
Prior to developing an obsession with Schaeffer, Bardo had stalked child peace activist Samantha Smith before her death in a 1985 plane crash. After writing numerous letters to Schaeffer, Bardo attempted to gain access to the set of the CBS TV series My Sister Sam, on which Schaeffer played a starring role.
Ultimately, he obtained her home address via a detective agency, which in turn tracked it via California Department of Motor Vehicles records. On July 18, 1989, Bardo confronted Schaeffer at her home, angry that she had appeared in a sex scene in the film Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills; in his eyes, she had “lost her innocence.” He visited her at her apartment and told her he was a big fan.
After having been turned away by Schaeffer, Bardo stopped at a diner for breakfast, only to return to the apartment about an hour later, again ringing the doorbell. When Schaeffer opened the door, Bardo fired a bullet through her chest. Bardo was arrested in Tucson, Arizona, where he was observed walking aimlessly in traffic.
The state prosecutor for the trial was Marcia Clark, who later became the lead prosecutor in the O. J. Simpson murder trial. Bardo was housed in a Sensitive Needs Unit (SNU) for inmates such as gang members, notorious prisoners and those convicted of sex crimes. During the trial, Bardo claimed the U2 song “Exit” was an influence in the murder, and the song was played in the courtroom as evidence (with Bardo lip-synching the lyrics).
Bardo’s attorneys conceded that he had murdered Schaeffer, but they argued that he was mentally ill. Psychiatrist Park Dietz, testifying for the defense, said that Bardo had schizophrenia and that it was his illness that led him to commit the murder. Bardo was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Bardo carried a red paperback copy of The Catcher in the Rye when he murdered Schaeffer, which he tossed onto the roof of a building as he fled. He insisted that it was coincidental and that he was not emulating Mark David Chapman, who had also carried a copy with him when he shot and killed John Lennon on December 8, 1980.
Robert John Bardo Drawings
Robert John Bardo Catcher In The Rye
Bardo, who carried a copy of The Catcher in the Rye — the same novel Mark David Chapman had with him when he killed John Lennon — took a bus back home to Tucson, Ariz. … Bardo was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Six years ago Rebecca Schaeffer was fatally shot
The day looked promising for Rebecca Schaeffer. Her spirits were still high from the birthday party she had thrown the night before for her 71-year-old grandfather. And in less than an hour, the sweet-faced, 21-year-old actress from Portland, Ore., who from 1986 to ’88 had co-starred as Pam Dawber’s kid sister, Patti, in the CBS sitcom My Sister Sam, was to meet with director Francis Ford Coppola about a role in The Godfather Part III. Around 10:15 on that morning of July 18, 1989, the buzzer rang at her apartment in L.A.’s pleasant, middle-class Fairfax district. The intercom was broken, so Schaeffer, still in her bathrobe, went down to answer the door. On the other side was 19-year-old Robert John Bardo, an unemployed fast-food worker who for three years had been trying to contact his idol. Bardo pulled a .357 Magnum from a plastic bag and shot Schaeffer once in the chest with a hollow-point cartridge. A half hour later, she was dead on arrival at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Bardo, who carried a copy of The Catcher in the Rye — the same novel Mark David Chapman had with him when he killed John Lennon — took a bus back home to Tucson, Ariz.
The murder of the up-and-coming actress brought home to Hollywood just how frighteningly vulnerable its celebrated residents had become. Bardo had read accounts of how a stalker had easily obtained the address of actress Theresa Saldana (The Commish) before stabbing and nearly killing her in ’82, so Bardo paid a Tucson detective $250 to find Schaeffer. A month before the murder, the private eye got the actress’ address from the California Department of Motor Vehicles for a fee of $4. ”I have an obsession with the unattainable,” Bardo had written in a letter to his older sister before the crime. ”I have to eliminate [what] I cannot attain.”
In the fall of 1991, Bardo was prosecuted by L.A. deputy district attorney Marcia Clark, now lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Bardo was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
His shocking act had a few positive results: In 1990, California became the first state to pass an anti-stalking bill; today, every state but Maine has a similar law. That same year, the LAPD created the nation’s only unit solely assigned to investigating stalking cases, and California lawmakers greatly restricted public access to motor vehicle records.
”I was a fan of hers and I may have carried it too far,” Bardo said after the murder. ”[But] I loved her…. If it wasn’t for my obsession, I’d be law-abiding. But Hollywood is a very seductive place. There are a lot of lonely people out there seduced by the glamour.” He’s now serving his sentence in the California Medical Facility, a state prison in Vacaville.
Robert John Bardo Interview
Suspect on Tape Tells of Actress’s Last Words
The man on trial for stalking and killing Rebecca Schaeffer gave a graphic account of the actress screaming “Why, why?” as he gunned her down in the doorway of her apartment building, according to a videotaped interview played in court Monday to bolster his insanity defense.
Yet Robert John Bardo, 21, said on the tape that he “almost had a heart attack” when he heard on television that night that the fresh-faced sitcom star was dead.
“It was a weird idea to know that I had killed somebody,” Bardo said in the interview with psychiatrist Dr. Park Dietz, videotaped at the Men’s Central Jail last month.
As he listened in court to his account of the shooting, Bardo hung his head and pressed his clenched fists over his ears.
At the time of Schaeffer’s July 1989, murder in the doorway of her Fairfax district apartment building, the actress was a co-star of the television situation comedy “My Sister Sam.”
Superior Court Judge Dino Fulgoni is hearing the case without a jury. If convicted, Bardo faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
On the videotape, Bardo told of visiting Schaeffer twice on the morning of her death, carrying a loaded .357 magnum pistol in a shopping bag to complete his “mission.”
He said Schaeffer answered the door and spoke to him about a postcard she had sent him in response to a fan letter. She smiled at him, said, “Please take care,” and shook his hand as he left.
As he walked away, Bardo said, he remembered he had a letter and a compact disc he meant to give to her, so he decided to return to Schaeffer’s apartment.
“She was in her bathrobe and I was thinking this is the wrong time. She’s taking a shower,” he said.
“She said: ‘You came to my door again.’ It was like I was bothering her again. ‘Hurry up, I don’t have much time.’
“I thought that was a very callous thing to say to a fan.”
He then showed how he pulled the gun from the bag, aimed it at her and fired, mimicking the sound of the weapon.
“She was just screaming,” he said, imitating her cries. “She was going: ‘Why, why?’ . . . I was still fumbling around, thinking I should blow my head off and fall on her.”
Bardo on the tape also discussed his interest in other obsessed fans who attacked performers.
In 1988–during a trip to New York City, where he unsuccessfully sought to meet pop singer Debbie Gibson, to whom he had also been attracted–Bardo said he visited the spot where former Beatle John Lennon was killed by Mark David Chapman.
Later, he said, he read a People magazine article about Arthur Jackson, who attacked and nearly killed actress Theresa Saldana.
From the article, he said, he learned that he could hire someone to find out Schaeffer’s address. Bardo subsequently hired a Tucson private detective, who obtained Schaeffer’s address from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
Bardo’s public defender, Stephen Galindo, contends that his client’s obsession with Schaeffer stemmed from long-standing mental illness.
But Deputy Dist. Atty. Marcia Clark maintains that Bardo was sane as he stalked the actress for two years, then killed her.
Galindo has not entered a plea in the case to protest the fact that Bardo was brought from Tucson, where he lived, to Los Angeles for trial without an extradition hearing.