A Little Rock man with a history of stalking women pleaded not guilty Monday in Faulkner County Circuit Court to a felony stalking charge he'd picked up in Conway.
A felony first-degree stalking charge was filed against Jeffery John Hergert in Conway following a Feb. 15 incident where he allegedly began harassing a woman who was jogging along Salem Road. The woman reported on Feb. 19 that Hergert had followed her for days since her initial contact with the 43-year-old suspect.
Attorney Stephen Ralph was appointed on Monday to represent Hergert in the aforementioned case. Hergert stood in shackles alongside Ralph before Circuit Judge Charles "Ed" Clawson Jr. as he pleaded not guilty to the Class C felony Monday in Faulkner County Circuit Court.
Prior to Monday's plea and arraignment hearing, Hergert filed two pro se motions — motions filed on one's own behalf — from the Faulkner County Detention Center. Hergert has asked prosecutors to provide him "in full" all the evidence against him as well as for "a fast and speedy trial, meaning to have a trial within 270 days" from when he filed the motions on Feb. 25.
Clawson also scheduled a June pretrial in Hergert's case Monday.
The 19-year-old woman told authorities the harassment began when Hergert, who was driving a green Nissan Altima, slammed on his brakes next to her as she was jogging on Salem Road. She said she couldn't hear what he was saying because she had in her headphones, but told him she doesn't talk to strangers and continued jogging, according to a probable cause affidavit filed against Hergert.
The situation escalated, according to the woman's statement, after she told Hergert to leave her alone.
She said Hergert immediately turned around and tried to speak with her again, at which point she broke off and headed onto Irby Drive in an attempt to get home.
The next day, the woman said that as she was leaving her apartment, she saw the same vehicle parked on Quattlebaum Street, which is adjacent to the Links at Cadron Valley. She said he wasn't parked in front of a residence but "was on the side of the road facing Irby [Drive]."
On Feb. 19, the woman said Hergert followed her to Fuji's Steak House while she was out eating with a friend and his family. She said Hergert, who was sitting at the bar, approached her as she was leaving the restaurant.
"As they were leaving, the same man from before stood up from the bar and spoke with her again," the affidavit reads. "He asked if the children with [her friend's] family were hers and she said no, that she was only 19. The man then asked where she worked and what she did around town. [Her friend's] mother interjected and told the man to leave [the victim] alone."
During the Conway Police Department's investigation, detectives learned Hergert had a history of stalking women.
"Jeffrey had a warrant in Idaho for several charges, including stalking, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, indecent exposure and enticing a minor," one officer wrote in his report. "I found that Jeffrey also had two charges of harassment and breaking or entering in Arkansas. I became concerned that should this individual [be stalking the victim], that he may actually be planning to do something harmful."
Court records show Hergert has a criminal history in eight states, with previous stalking charges filed out of Nevada, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.
Police departments across the state said they have received complaints against Hergert for posing as a door-to-door salesman in order to harass women, according to online records.
Hergert is set to appear next at 9 a.m. June 7 for a pretrial hearing in Faulkner County Circuit Court.