By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
On March 12, 1989, he finally reached her by phone. They discussed scuba diving -- he is an expert diver -- and astrology. She was very cordial, he says, "with a hard edge that I really liked. I asked her if I could bring her down a gourmet lunch and she said no." He says he was quick with his response: "You've got guts. I've got character. Take some chances." According to Martin-Trigona, Akre asked for time to think about it. (Akre now says she regrets she ever gave him the time of day.)
"I felt on top of the world," he recalls. "I had finally made contact." But further efforts to reach Akre by phone or letter proved unsuccessful. Still, Martin-Trigona made sure he was near a television whenever Channel 7's news came on, staring and studying her movements, gauging both her psychological and physical feelings: "You know, when you develop an affection for someone, you begin to notice every little twitch, every mood swing. I can tell when she is happy, sad, everything about her."
In the early evening of December 21, 1990 -- the winter solstice -- Martin-Trigona experienced what he says was his only other positive contact with Jane Akre: "I waited for her in the Channel 7 parking lot. It was 6:50 p.m., the time she normally leaves. We met there and walked back to the lobby, where we talked about 30 or 40 minutes." He didn't tell Akre that he had staked out her movements for several days until he knew her routine comings and goings. He didn't tell her that he had followed her to her home in Weston and sipped his raspberry soda while he observed another man visiting her. He didn't tell her about his forays into the Broward County courthouse computer system, hunting for her name on various documents.
Instead they talked about her work and, Martin-Trigona says, she accepted three literary gifts, including a book about astrology, inscribed to her from his mother. He left the meeting with a high-stepping feeling: "She seemed very impressed with me. I'm the kind of guy with a lot of guts. That's the kind of guy she likes. I thought to myself, `I've made it onto the beach with Jane Akre. Now I need to go for the beachhead.'"
Three days later, on Christmas Eve, he tried again, but says she refused to answer his call. Undaunted, he tried yet again. "I called her the day after Christmas," he recalls. "But I was not prepared for the vicious tirade she gave me: `Don't call me again. Don't ever set foot in this station again.' There was a very intimidating tone to her voice. I told her, `Jane, I don't think I can go along with that.'"
Despondent, urged by family members to give up the quest, Martin-Trigona drove to Key West, where he says he jumped into the ocean and swam around the island twice, at night, trying to use physical stress to beat the demon off his back. It didn't work. Neither did his efforts at self-persuasion. "You know, I have tried to talk myself out of this. I have sat down and logically tried to talk myself away from her," he sighs. "But I just can't break away. I'm imprinted on the woman." The counsel of his close friends, who told him the presence of "the other man" in Akre's life doomed his efforts to failure, was no deterrent, either. "So I decided to look into who this guy was," Martin-Trigona recalls, "and what their relationship was all about."
While stalking Akre one night this past January, Martin-Trigona says he followed her into the Bangkok Cafe in Davie. Like Inspector Clouseau slinking low in his seat, Martin-Trigona wore dark glasses, a fake goatee, and hid behind a newspaper while munching on Oriental shrimp and "researching" Akre. Suddenly, he says, "this repulsive-looking character comes waddling in, checks out the whole restaurant, then sits at Akre's table. He looked about five-nine, five-ten, 270 pounds. I couldn't figure this out. I had imagined someone more dashing, more debonair."
A glance outside at a green Mercedes confirmed to Martin-Trigona that he had his man. He'd seen the car at Akre's house, had traced its registration and other documentation, and had identified its owner as someone named Steve Wilson. Beyond that, he knew nothing about the portly gentleman at Akre's side. Within a month, however, he had secured both of Wilson's telephone numbers, a copy of the deed to his property, and discovered that Wilson was a nationally known television reporter.
A brush with the law, however, did nothing to dissuade him from his painstaking pursuit of information about Steve Wilson. After more than 70 phone calls to California, and hundreds of dollars spent on court documents he had shipped from the West Coast, Martin-Trigona knew plenty about Wilson, not the least of which was the fact that he was in the same profession as Akre, but much more famous, a winner of Emmy awards. "A light bulb went off," he says in describing the theory that came to him. "Suddenly I understood. So that's what she sees in him -- a great contact, an opportunity to go from a class-two market to a class-one market."