Georgia Got a Gun

The accused stalker of newscaster Kristi Krueger is still fighting childhood demons

Four days after the shooting, prosecutors decided not to charge her with murder. Georgia was released from the hospital on January 28, the day the space shuttle Challenger exploded. She never returned to the scene of the shooting, but she didn't cut ties to Angela's friends or family.

On February 3, she surprised Brian at a neighborhood bus stop and told him about a dream she'd had of him standing over Angela's grave. Georgia thought Brian was going to kill himself, so she sought him out to tell him the shooting was a "joke," hoping this would cause him to yell at her. She believed the reaction would relieve her own guilt, according to police reports. Then she told Brian he was going to kill himself. "Let me do it for you," she told him, "and then I'm going next."

Georgia explains her bizarre behavior: "My brain was scrambled after the accident," she says. "I've never been the same."

Georgia (top left) broke from her father and the constrictions of a strict Greek upbringing. She partied with Angela (bottom left and at right in right photo).
Georgia (top left) broke from her father and the constrictions of a strict Greek upbringing. She partied with Angela (bottom left and at right in right photo).

Psychiatrist Bennett Braun also diagnosed her as having multiple personalities. Georgia remembers that, in addition to her "regular self," there was an evil troublemaker named "Jeorgia" and an innocent child named "Gula." Perhaps it was Jeorgia who visited Brian on the steps of his apartment building many weeks after the shooting. "She told me that she didn't know why, but she had to pull the trigger," he says. "At first, I just thought it had to be an accident, but as time went by, I just couldn't understand it. How could a person point a shotgun at someone's head and pull the trigger by accident?"

Georgia denies ever saying she "had to" pull the trigger. Six weeks after the shooting, police charged her with reckless conduct for the shooting, and she was sentenced to a year's probation.

To this day, Georgia blames Peveler for Angela's death: "That roommate from hell might as well have pulled the trigger. She is the original stalker's stalker."

Peveler says her ex-roommate set out to ruin her life after Angela's death: "She had everyone believing it was somehow my fault. The entire class of '84 ostracized me."

The two young women would be entangled in conflict and legal battles for nearly four years. Peveler claims that Georgia followed her mercilessly, often threatening her life. She filed misdemeanor phone harassment and death threat charges against Georgia, alleging her former roommate had said things like "I killed the wrong girl" and "It's going to take me two minutes to kill you, bitch."

Peveler says she caught Georgia going through her trash in the middle of the night in an alley. She says Georgia also posted hundreds of photocopies of Peveler's photograph -- with epithets like "thief" and "murderer" written on them -- in the hallway of her condo. "They went all the way up to the ceiling, and I still have no idea how she got up there," Peveler says. "She put them on all the cars in the parking lot and in the bushes too. I just cried."

It got so bad that her family put her on a Greyhound bus in the middle of the night to stay with relatives in Kentucky for a couple of weeks, Peveler claims. Georgia denies any of this happened, though she admits once angrily telling Peveler's sister during a chance meeting in traffic that the "wrong girl" had died.

As that drama played out in the summer of 1987, Georgia surprised Mary Puccetti during a visit to her daughter's grave. "She started convincing me that it was an accident," the mother recalls of the meeting at the headstone. "She said that she loved Angela and she never hurt her intentionally. She manipulated me, since I really didn't want to believe that someone would shoot a friend in the head on purpose. If I wouldn't have accepted that it was an accident, I would have cracked up."

They struck up a friendship, and the Puccettis allowed Georgia to move into Angela's room in their home. "I felt sorry for her," Mary Puccetti explains, "so I took her in."

Even Georgia says it was strange sleeping in Angela's bed: "It was weird that they let me stay in Angela's bedroom -- that part of it kind of creeped me out a little bit."

About that time, Brian happened to pass Georgia on the street. He didn't recognize her until she called his name. "She had blond hair, and it was styled just like Angela's," he says. "Her clothes looked like something Angela might wear. And then I remembered that she was supposed to be living in Angela's house. I was disgusted."

The dispute with Peveler raged on. Georgia decided to contact the Lerner News, a small community newspaper on the north side of Chicago, and talked to reporter Gary Roberts, who did an article sympathetic to Georgia headlined, "Tragic nightmare won't go away." "I used to have dreams, but they are all gone," Georgia is quoted as saying in the story, which was published July 6, 1988. "My freedom and my sanity are the only things I have now, and all this is in jeopardy."

On November 1, 1988, Georgia filed a battery charge against Peveler, saying she'd beaten her up in a nightclub bathroom. While Georgia says her nose was broken, the accused says it never happened. "I never saw her there, and I never touched her," Peveler insists. "That girl must have pulverized herself or had someone else do it for her."

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