FORT WORTH, Texas -- A former state trooper convicted of stalking his ex-wife and sending strangers to her house for sex by impersonating her online was sentenced to four years probation.
The jury in state District Judge Sharen Wilson's court deliberated less than an hour before deciding the sentence for Kevin Safford, 41, of Fort Worth.
Safford's father, Larry Safford, and his teenage daughter were among the witnesses who tearfully asked jurors to consider probation because of all that he does to support his ailing parents and his children. He had been facing up to 10 years in prison.
Jurors convicted Safford Thursday on two counts of stalking and one count of online impersonation in a months-long campaign of hate against his ex-wife, Lawana Safford Siney, of Saginaw. Safford's computer linked him to an online adult dating website, Fling.com, where a phony profile of Siney had been set up seeking sex partners.
Siney told jurors that the onslaught began with hundreds of text messages in the spring of 2009 and escalated to telephone threats against her made to her aunt and mother. Then, in October 2009, men began showing up at her door believing she had invited them to her house for sex through the website.
Siney faced Safford in court after the sentencing.
"You took complete advantage of my trust," she said. "So now we're in a courtroom, and you're a convicted felon. I really hope now that you realize you are not above the law."
Prosecutors Steven Gebhardt and Andrea Townsend had asked the jury for the maximum sentence of 10 years if they were considering probation, to send a message to the community. But they said the jury's decision was fair.
"The level of violence on the part of the defendant was escalating beyond simple harassment," Gebhardt said afterward in a written statement. "They jury sent the message that this type of behavior simply will not be tolerated in Tarrant County."
Safford was a trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety for more than four years before resigning amid allegations he had falsified ticket information. He also served as a jailer for the Tarrant County sheriff's department and a police officer with the Lake Worth department.