Phoenix, Arizona: Jacqueline Ades, a woman accused of sending a man more than 159,000 text messages and breaking into his Arizona home wants her case to go to trial, believing a jury will find her innocent while also ordering her and the man she’s accused of stalking to wed.
Those were among the comments made by Jacqueline Ades in a recent interview from Maricopa County’s Estrella Jail, where she has been held since May 2018.
Ades’ case has garnered national attention after authorities said she continued to stalk a Paradise Valley man after a single date, broke into his home and sent thousands of text messages to him over the course of 10 months, including some in which she threatened to wear his flesh and devour his organs, according to Maricopa County Court records.
Ades was incredulous that her actions warranted incarceration.
“I just think it’s ridiculous,” Ades said. “I can’t believe that it turned into this. I can’t believe that I’m actually in jail over some text messages.”
She maintained that her threats against the man’s life were jokes that she would never act on. She said the man responded to her texts for three months but stopped after she sent the threats. Ades said she threatened the man after a fight with her mother and took out her anger on him.
“I said, ‘If I had a perverted imagination, what would I think?’ ” Ades said. “And then I wrote all these weird things. Just, like, I was literally playing with my imagination and it turned out that that scared him.”
Her attorney, Matthew Leathers, requested a hearing in January to evaluate her mental competency to ensure she understood the charges and the proceedings against her and to assist in her own defense.
Ades was deemed mentally incompetent at a hearing in March.
Leathers told The Republic that two of the three mental-health professionals who met with Ades found her mentally incompetent to stand trial, but restorable. One diagnosed her as being mentally competent.
He said the trial was ordered delayed by at least 60 days earlier this month as psychologists attempt to restore her to competency.
“The idea is to get her restored to competency so she’s able to assist in her own defense,” Leathers said.
Ades rejects time-served deal
Ades, who is being held in a Maricopa County jail without bond for nearly a year, has pleaded not guilty to charges of stalking and criminal trespassing.
Ades could have walked out of jail several months ago by accepting a plea deal that called for her release with time served, Leathers said. The catch is she would have been on probation for 10 years and barred from contacting the man at the center of her obsession.
But Ades told reporters she refused to take the deal because she didn’t believe it was real. She thought it might be the victim’s way of testing her resolve, she said.
Ades said she wants to go to trial, where she’s positive the jury will not only find her not guilty, but will order her and the man she’s accused of stalking to marry her.
“They’re going to say, ‘You’re not guilty and on top of it we, like, demand that you two get married,’ ” Ades said.
Leathers made the motion for a competency hearing after her decision not to accept the plea deal.
The Republic spoke to Ades as she was being evaluated but before she was found not competent.
She claimed she had been abducted by Walt Disney, whom she believes is a member of the Illuminati and manned a spaceship,
“Does that sound crazy?” Ades asked. “It sounds like I’m crazy. My mom says, ‘They’re going to put you back in Rule 11 court if you go around telling people.’ But this is a true story — I’m not lying.”
Ades lamented the jail’s living conditions, saying she slept on a thin yoga mat and wasn’t allowed to go outside.
Though Ades is certain she will be found not guilty, she said she’d be fine with prison time if the jury felt otherwise.
Ades said she most likely would move back to Florida once she was released and go to school to become a Pilates instructor. She said she wouldn’t contact the man again because she believes he would reach out to her on his own.
Stalking became more intense, records say
The victim has not been identified in court records.
According to the documents, Ades met the man on a dating website and began stalking him soon after, flooding him with text messages, sometimes as many as 500 in a single day. The man called police after he found her parked outside his home, records say.
Police, in a statement submitted to court, said she began sending more-threatening messages after that, including death threats.
“Oh what would I do w ur blood! … Id wanna bathe in it,” was an example listed in court documents.
Police later found her taking a bath in the man’s home, with a large butcher knife in her car, court documents said.
Ades’ next hearing is scheduled for May 21 in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Restoration to mental competency
Amanda Steele, a spokeswoman with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, said that Ades had been placed into the Restoration to Competency program where an appointed psychologist will oversee the restoration process.
The psychologist will have up to 21 months to restore Ades to competency or deem her not restorable, Steele said.
Ades’ case will go back to trial if she’s deemed restored. It will be dismissed without prejudice if found not to be restorable. Leathers and the prosecutor can request an additional hearing should one disagree with the psychologist’s conclusion.
If Ades is ultimately deemed to be mentally incompetent and unrestorable, Steele said the court could commit her to a mental institution, appoint her a legal guardian or simply dismiss the charges and release her.
Leathers said the psychologist will likely walk his client through the legal process, explaining to her what a prosecutor is and the charges against her – among other things.
Receiving treatment behind bars
Some experts consider this to be a flawed approach.
Joel Dvoskin, a clinical and forensic psychologist who teaches at the University of Arizona, said any belief that most people are deemed incompetent because of ignorance of the legal system is a myth.
“The reason they’re incompetent has much more to do with being acutely psychotic than it does with not knowing about courts,” Dvoskin said. “And so for those people, the main way they need to be restored to competency is by having their acute psychotic situation resolved.”
Though Dvoskin said he wasn’t familiar with Ades’ case, he noted that problems can arise when those deemed mentally incompetent receive treatment while incarcerated.
“It’s expensive to keep people in a psychiatric hospital,” Dvoskin said. “So what Arizona did some years ago was that they would keep people in jail while they were being purportedly restored to competency – and there’s a lot of problems with that.”
Dvoskin questioned the adequacy of mental health services, conditions and safety of inmates suffering from mental illness within jails compared with a dedicated treatment facility.
“All of those things are relevant to what a person’s circumstances (are) in a jail and the degree to which it’s realistic for them to be restored to competency in a jail.”