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Stalking Ex-Housesitter Agrees to Stay Away from Luis Guzman
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26 May 2015 12:58 PM EST

-by Laura Tucker, Staff Writer; Image: Luis Guzman (Image Source: David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons)

Stalkers are often people you know, and sometimes they are people you wouldn't really expect to come after you.

This just may be the case with actor Luis Guzman and a Vermont man who used to house-sit for him. He has now agreed to stay at least 300 feet away from Guzman.

Guzman, 58, filed on April 27 for a temporary restraining order against Joda Hodge, 39, in Caledonia Superior Court. He claimed that Hodge was stalking him and engaging in threatening behavior. His request was granted.

On Thursday, a final relief from stalking hearing was held, but just as the two men were about to be sworn in, Hodge admitted to the court that he'd rather settle the whole thing by mutual agreement with Guzman. The actor agreed, and while the court didn't find any evidence of stalking, Hodge agreed that he would not have direct or indirect contact with Guzman or go within 300 feet of him, his children, his home, place of employment or vehicle.

Caledonia Superior Court Judge Kathleen Manley had given Hodge the option to setting without taking testimony. She then began the proceedings by telling Hodge and Guzman that there were two ways to proceed.

In the first way, they would get sworn in and testify, and she would decide whether there was enough evidence of stalking to make the temporary restraining order permanent. The second way was that they would reach an agreement that wouldn't require any testimony.

Hodge chose the first option, but as both men raised their right hands to be sworn in, he changed his mind. After the agreement was made, Guzman asked what would happen if Hodge violated it. He was told to call the police.

Guzman's complaint has now become public. In it he says that Hodge had been house-sitting and dog-sitting for him when he was out of town. But the relationship changed once Hodge brought a gun into the home. The two argued about it, and Hodge was asked to leave.

After this, Guzman said he received a disturbing text message from Hodge about his dog. The police assisted him in going home to check on his dog. He then found his dog badly injured and bleeding with a hatchet nearby. However, a vet determined the injuries were more consistent with a dog fight than an injury.

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Recently Posted Comments
Date: 26 May, 2015
Posted by: Kelly Nixon
Comment: I find this article to be very poorly written. It feels like it belongs in a gossip magazine and most certainly not a neutral "news" report. Too many irrelevant details for the sake of drama because the writer couldn't find any real substance. And did anyone interview Mr. Hodge? Where is his side of the story? Bad reporting, bad journalism, bad writing and I feel sad reading it really. This writer will continue to do this type of work in this world lacking empathy, ethics and most importantly critical thinking(!!!!!) if no one says anything. So, I say to you writer, please stop and think about every word you choose to write. You have power in your work and I feel like this article abuses that power. Sincerely, Kelly Nixon
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