A Twin Cities woman dubbed “the neighbor from hell” for harassing a White Bear Lake family for years was sentenced Monday to five years’ probation that will start once she completes a separate probation.
Lori Christensen’s attorney, Gary Wolf, said she plans to appeal the sentence and Ramsey County District Judge Judith Tilsen’s denial of her motion to withdraw her guilty plea.
Christensen, 50, pleaded guilty in July to violating a restraining order but then tried unsuccessfully to withdraw the plea at her original sentencing date in September.
As she left Monday’s sentencing, Christensen said she was “looking forward to my side of the story getting out,” but did not elaborate.
Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Karen Kugler initially sought 10 years’ probation, but later found that the term was illegal. On Monday, Kugler asked Tilsen to make Christensen’s sentence consecutive to a five-year probation she is already serving for a previous conviction involving harassment of the same neighbors, Greg and Kim Hoffman and their children. Christensen has a little more than three years left to serve.
Tilsen granted Kugler’s request after a battle between attorneys about its legality.
Wolf said consecutive sentences apply to prison terms, not probation, in the same case involving multiple victims. In violating the restraining order there was one victim, he said: the administration of justice.
Tilsen said that case law supported the prosecution’s interpretation of the law.
Christensen’s latest infraction involved videotaping the Hoffmans’ home and car. Previous harassment involved her mocking them with yard signs, exposing her bra to them and making masturbatory gestures toward the family.
Tilsen also sentenced Christensen to 50 hours of community service and a $200 fine and ordered her to stay at least a mile from the Hoffman home and to observe a no-contact order for five years. Christensen faces 1½ years in prison if she violates probation.
“I have no intentions of going back to that neighborhood,” Christensen said.
Wolf said Christensen is unemployed, faces bleak job prospects and lives with her mother.
The Hoffmans were not present during the sentencing, which was originally scheduled as a jury trial to determine whether there were “aggravating factors” in the case that merited a 10-year probation.
“They want it done,” Kugler said. “They just want peace.”