By Terrence McCoy
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By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
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Martin-Trigona then decided to take a bold step: he would contact Wilson directly. As an excuse for calling Wilson at home, he prepared a couple of story leads he thought would interest Wilson as a journalist. The reporter seemed agitated at the intrusion into his personal life. "I was surprised at the electricity of this man," says Martin-Trigona. "He really wanted to know who I was, how I got his phone numbers, how I knew so much about him. I know I really surprised him when I asked him to give Jane Akre a message."
The next night he called Wilson again. This time, according to Martin-Trigona, Wilson's agitation grew to profane hostility. Undeterred, he tried once more, but this time he laid a trap. He called the following day, during a time his research told him Wilson would not be home, and left a "disarming" message on Wilson's answering machine, promising to "come clean and explain the real reason I had been calling him. I told him I would let him in on the secret, how I knew everything I knew about him and Jane."
It worked. A curious Wilson called back and listened as Martin-Trigona explained his impassioned devotion to Akre. Wilson didn't curse him and didn't abruptly hang up. Martin-Trigona says he took that as a positive sign that Wilson would not block his efforts to reach Akre. "I really felt encouraged," he recalls, "I felt buttressed." But a week later, on Valentine's Day, Martin-Trigona received an ominous letter from Channel 7's attorneys. He was advised to stay away from Akre and WSVN's studios. "Govern yourself accordingly," the terse, one-page note warned.
Martin-Trigona grabbed the material he had gathered about Wilson and Akre and went to visit Channel 7 attorney Bruce Iden. "He told me, `Akre doesn't want you in her presence,'" Martin-Trigona says. "We spent a few minutes intimidating each other and I left." Then he penned Akre a postcard: "I have tried to talk myself out of this, but I feel strongly there will be a Round 2, then a Round 3, Round 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 until I get tired of it or you give up." As usual, he received no reply.
A few days before Akre's August 31 birthday, Martin-Trigona visited Ellis Rubin's law office. He asked Rubin if he would autograph a copy of his autobiography as a gift for a friend. "What do you want me to say, George?" Rubin asked.
"I want you to inscribe it to Jane Akre. She's told me you're one of her idols. I want to personally present this to her on her birthday."
Through his research, Martin-Trigona discovered that Akre would be in New York for the U.S. Open tennis tournament during the week of her birthday. So he waited, and on Friday, September 6, he appeared where he had been told never to appear again: in the parking lot of Channel 7. Right on time, Akre began walking from the lobby. She spotted Martin-Trigona waiting by her car and quickly went back inside. "I left right away," he laughs. "I figured the goons would come after me. I felt I'd better get out of there to fight another day."
Two days later, just after noon, he put on his finest suit, picked up the gift-wrapped book, evaded the Weston guards as he always did, and parked in front of Akre's house. (Though Akre and Wilson jointly own a house, she also owns a separate home in the development.) He knew ahead of time, of course, she would be there. After ringing the doorbell several times, he left, then returned. According to BSO Sgt. John Fleming, Akre at that moment was inside calling the cops. "The third time I went up to the door," Martin-Trigona says, "I looked around and I was swarmed on all sides by policemen. I told them, `You guys don't know who you're dealing with.' I figured I would be walking into a hornet's nest out there. A young woman [Michelle Davis] had been murdered on the next block, and I knew that security might be tighter than usual."
Sheriff's deputies asked Martin-Trigona to come to the Weston substation a few blocks away. There his driver's license was run through the computer, and he was sent on his way with a warning not to come back and not to bother Akre again. "My recollection is that this was a domestic," recalls Sergeant Fleming, adding that officers did not consider Martin-Trigona a possible suspect in the still-unsolved Davis murder. "He was an ex-boyfriend or admirer who had been jilted by her and was trying to get back in. The victim [Akre] gave us no indication it was any more than that. We gave her information on restraining orders and that was that."
Fully expecting that he was about to be served with a restraining order that would prevent him from approaching Akre, Martin-Trigona boldly walked into the Channel 7 executive offices the next morning to speak with controller Mark Mayo. "I told him I was only trying to give her a present," he says. "I told him that someone who is in the public eye like Akre has a responsibility to her fans to treat them decently."