John Bardo’s family has a history of mental illness, and Bardo himself is diagnosed with manic depression. At 15, Bardo is institutionalized for “emotional problems.” He drops out of high school in the 9th grade and begins work as a janitor at a Jack in Box. On the cusp of manhood and going nowhere, Bardo writes letter after letter to actress Rebecca Schaeffer - “beneath a corona of curls, Schaeffer projects a kid sister's helplessness.” What stalker can resist that shit?!?! In these letters, Bardo details his chaste devotion to the fresh-faced Schaeffer. He quotes John Lennon lyrics, telling her that he is "a sensitive guy." In one passage, he explains: "I'm harmless. You could hurt me.” Bardo kills Schaeffer on her doorstep with a single gunshot to the chest.
Bardo is found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. As of 2018, Bardo is serving his life sentence at the Ironwood State Prison in Blythe, California where he spends his days drawing pictures of Schaeffer along with a who's who of pop and movie stars. They sell for $25 to $100.