It was around six thirty when we got to Terry’s office so I had been in the cell for about five hours. After taking
care of some paperwork, and after I finally got to see a bathroom for the first time that day, Terry drove me to my
apartment. The first thing I did was move my car as far away from Shannon’s apartment as possible. Her
apartment was only about a hundred and twenty feet from mine but I made sure to get that thing as far from it as
possible. The lights were on in the windows and I could see the blue glow from the TV. We came inside to a
horrible sight. The place was completely trashed. The drawers in the living room were emptied out on the floor.
The cushions from the furniture had been pulled up and thrown across the room. Mud was tracked deeply into
the carpet and latex gloves were all over. Things were smashed, my CDs and video tapes were all over the floor.
On the bookshelf I had a hockey puck autographed by Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky in an acrylic case. This
was gone and I haven’t seen it since. I went into the bedroom looking for Natasha. The closet and dresser
contents were strewn across the floor. Many things had been thrown around and spilled over. I stopped and
quickly darted into the bathroom were I put my hands on the porcelain bowl and wretched. I cleaned my mouth
and heard a scurrying noise under the washing machine. It was Natasha, she had been hiding there during the
I scooped Natasha up and went into the bedroom and climbed over the debris to check the closet. The box with
my collection of Shannon Miller articles was gone. The others were still there. It was obvious now what the
prosecution was going to try to set up. Terry was in the living room checking things and I told him that the box
was gone. He said not to worry.
“That’s not illegal. Even if you were obsessed there’s nothing wrong with that. What they were looking for was
drugs and pornography.” That must have been disappointing. The closest thing to drugs in there was beer and
when they went through my tapes it must have made them mad to find things like my “Rocky and Bullwinkle”
collection instead of pornos.
My answering machine was completely full. We played back the messages and they were all from various
reporters and television networks. I got a gut feeling of what was going to happen next and I said to Terry “I can’t
stay here tonight, I’ve got to get to a hotel.”
“It shouldn’t be too bad. If anyone comes by just don’t answer the door”
“I don’t think it’s going to be just that.” Just then the phone rang. It was my mother, I told her what was going on
and she spoke to Terry. They agreed that for my mental well being I needed to be out of there. I grabbed a few
things and put Natasha in
her traveling cage and we were off.
As it was after dark and my passenger’s side headlight was out, Terry drove me to a “Ramada Inn” about eight
miles away. I was out on bail and the police could throw me back in jail for just about any reason and driving with
one headlight was enough. I got a room, gave Terry the number, snuck in Natasha, and walked across the street
to get some beer. At that point I really wanted one! I walked into the convenience store suspiciously but I hadn’t
been on the news yet. No one recognized me, still I didn’t dawdle.
I got back and ordered some dinner. What I wanted was a couple of juicy cheeseburgers and some greasy fries
but the kitchen was closed and I had to have some Chinese food delivered. I called home to tell them were I was
and my friends to warn them in case the media started poking around. By the time the food got there I had told
everyone what was going on, I turned on the TV and tried to relax a little. It didn’t work, I was jumping at every
little sound in the hall and out the window, certain that the police were coming after me again. The news came on
and I watched myself being portrayed as a monster. Not much was said really except that Shannon lived in the
same complex and had class together. More was to come on later but I didn’t know that. I just wanted to get some
sleep. Even though I was exhausted I couldn’t get relaxed. I turned the TV to something funny and had some
beer. Eventually I fell asleep around one. No, I didn’t sleep. I collapsed.
The next morning I was awakened at around seven-thirty by the phone ringing. It was Terry “Joe, you were
absolutely right. Your apartment complex was a media circus last night. They had camera crews in the parking
lot and were interviewing all your neighbors. Whatever you do, don’t go to class. The media are all over campus
too. They’re looking for you and the big mystery right now is that no one knows were you are. Do you have
anyone you can stay with.”
“No, Shannon was my only close friend in the area”
“Ohh, this isn’t very good, call your mom and see if she can to get you out of here. I’ll call the DA’s office and
see what we can arrange.”
I called her and she got me an emergency flight out of Oklahoma to Laguradia at eleven-thirty that morning.
Terry called and told me that things were arranged for me to be able leave and that he would pick me up right
away. As OU was proceeding to throw me out of school, it didn’t really matter.
He got there in about twenty minutes and we first headed back to my apartment so I could pack some clothes.
When we got there I took the paper off my front step and opened to the article on my arrest. It was here that I
finally saw what Shannon had told the police. Here’s the article as printed in the Feburary 24, 1998 issue of The
Police Arrest Man Accused of Stalking Shannon Miller
NORMAN-- A University of Oklahoma Student was arrested Monday of after being accused of stalking
Olympic gold medalist Shannon Miller for more than a month.
Joseph Whitney Vogt, 25 of Norman was released from the Cleveland county jail Monday after posting a
$2000 bond, a jailer said. He will be arraigned today in Cleveland County District Court.
Vogt was arrested as he left class Monday morning at OU’s Dale hall, Norman police Lt. Paul Swenson said.
Vogt, an OU journalism sophomore, was taken into custody without incident.
Miller said she was glad the situation was being handled and that both the OU and Norman police
departments were very helpful.
“I just want too keep this a private matter,” she said.
Miller, and OU student, filed a report with the Norman and OU police departments Sunday alleging she was
stalked for more than a month, Swenson said. Miller also filed a temporary victim’s protective order Monday
Swenson said Miller contacted police after Vogt rear-ended a car driven by Miller’s boyfriend Saturday at
24th Avenue SW and Sate Highway 9 in Norman. Norman police took a report at the scene.
Miller told police she received several calls from Vogt after the crash.
Swenson said Miller told police she had noticed Vogt following her in mid-January on and off campus.
Swenson said Miller had one class with Vogt. “He was following her from class to class, even the classes he’s not
enrolled in,” Swenson said.
Miller told police that Vogt had knocked on her door, even trying to push it open, Swenson said. He said
Miller and Vogt live in the same apartment complex.
Cleveland County District Attorney Tim Kuykendall said an affidavit filed in the district court Monday states
that Vogt watches Miller from her parking lot.
“Miller has become fearful for what he might do next,” states the affidavit signed by Officer Roy Williams.
Since Vogt does not have a prior record, the maximum sentence he could receive would be up to a year in
jail and a $1000 fine, Kuykendall said”
“How could she do this someone?” I thought again, “the only thing I did wrong was a stupid, juvenile prank. Now
she’s going to lie and have me sent to jail!”
She claimed that I had been following her on and off campus. That I had been watching her outside her
apartment. She even claimed that I had attempted to force my way into her apartment. I was shocked, she was
always so nice and seemed to be such a gentle person. I couldn’t believe that she could lie to the police the way
that she did.
As we left Terry said, “The DA, Tim Kuykendall, is making a big deal of some drawings that they found in your
apartment, what are they?” The drawings! I didn’t know I had those anymore. I thought I threw them away. Let
me tell you a little about my artistic background first. I draw all the time, or I did before my arrest. I scribble
whatever pops in my head just out of habit. If you look at my notes from class you’ll find all sorts of funny
cartoons from when things get slow. I took a whole pile of art classes in high school, mostly because I didn’t want
to take real classes, and I learned a lot and really harnessed my skills. Along with that is the fact that I like to
draw stories. I wanted to draw for Marvel Comics when I was a little kid and started making my own comic books
with my friends and me as the heroes. I continued drawing stories from then on using people I knew as character
models and quite often lived vicariously by putting myself in the heroic role. What they found were the remnants
of a story I had drawn a few weeks back that got over looked when I was throwing things out.
A friend has sent me a Japanese animated movie called Vampire Hunter D. A very intense, well-done, well-
drawn story. I had also, not too long ago, seen the 1922 classic rendition of Brahm Stoker’s Dracula, the silent
film Nosferatu. I thought to myself “I wonder how it would be if I combined those two movies in a story.” Since I
didn’t have anything pressing to do, I took out my art supplies and drew out the story. As usual I put myself in the
hero role and, as I felt very protective of Shannon, I put her in the role as the damsel in distress. After I finished I
took it out to the trash as I did it very quickly and didn’t much like the end results of my art. A few got left behind
and were mixed in with some of my papers. What the police found, or what they produced, was the beginning of
the dramatic part of the story where the damsel in distress is in danger and the hero comes to her aid. They were
some of the most dramatic parts of the story. I described it to Terry and he said “Nothing pornographic?”
“Nothing with you harming her?”
“No, just the opposite.”
“Okay, good. Then it shouldn’t be a problem.”
When the police found out I was leaving the state they went nuts trying to think of anything to prevent that.
Chris Phillips had been screaming and yelling for me to be brought up on charges of assault with a deadly
weapon due to the accident and that was the first thing they went with. I don’t think much of Tim Kuykendall but I’ll
give him credit, he didn’t go with anything that ridiculous although he did charge me with reckless driving. When
that didn’t work the detective handling the murder case from earlier tried to name me as a suspect, actually trying
to pin a murder charge on me just to keep me in the state. That didn’t work either.
Terry handled this the entire way to the airport on his cell phone. At the same time the media kept after us,
trying to find out where we were, what was going on. At that point the last thing we wanted was camera crews at
the airport. We got there just fine, they didn’t figure out what was going on until about ten minutes before
boarding. The wait was terrible and the minutes dragged but I figured I would feel better after the plane was in
the air. The airport was miserable as people began to recognize me and the accusing stares began to spread.
Terry waited with me up until I boarded the plane. As the plane took off, my brain kept telling me that I was safe
but my emotions didn’t agree.
My paranoia had become worse as eyes seemed focused on me and all conversation seemed to be in my
direction. This continued on to my connection in Atlanta. To make matters worse, in my haste to get out of
Oklahoma I didn’t pack any reading material or a set of headphones, I just had to sit and think of all that was
going on the entire way. As I got off I felt some of the pressure release but not all of it. Anytime I would pass a
police officer in that big airport my chest would tighten, my mouth would dry. I hadn’t eaten since the night before,
which wasn’t much anyway, but I wasn’t hungry. I was exhausted but my adrenaline kept me going, surviving. I
made the flight to LaGuardia just in time but I was still in terror. Just before takeoff a voice came over the intercom
and said “Would passenger Joseph....” my heart skipped so hard I pulled a rib muscle “.... Meady please identify
This terror and paranoia had been building up at this point for over three days. The morning after the accident I
woke up around six with pain. Because of the adrenaline I hadn’t noticed that I had sprained my wrist and jammed
my shoulder in the accident. I was a lot more calm than the day before but still a little nervous. I figured that
when I called Shannon later I would make sure Chris didn’t get any soreness but, like I said before, I figured he
was fine as his truck was about twice the size of my car. As I was too nervous to cook the night before I ate all the
rolls I had for breakfast so I had to go to the store again. I cleaned up, taped my wrist, and went out. No police,
okay it was all in my imagination. It was about eight o’clock by that point and I saw that Shannon had gotten
home, her car was parked out front. I went back in and gave her a call just to get it over with. No answer and I
didn’t bother with a message. I figured she probably was in the shower or something. I waited about fifteen
minutes and called again. Again no answer, I started getting nervous again.
I walked out to go to the store and another squad car was out in front of my apartment. This time the cop
waved at me and left. As I got in my car Shannon and Chris were coming out. As I left I waved to them but they
didn’t look at me. I turned right out of the parking lot to get to the highway and saw a police car right across once
again. This time he followed me, got on the highway behind the whole way maybe twenty-five yards back steadily
closing. I was trying very hard to keep my speed between fify and fifty-five. After about six miles I turned off on the
exit, which brought me to the store, he stayed on my tail. Just before I got to the store he pulled me over. I sat
there for about ten minutes waiting for him. He came out and took my license, registration, and insurance and
walked back not telling me what was going on. He looked like the stereotypical pig. He was about six foot two
inches and two hundred forty-five pounds. He was wearing dark sunglasses, had a kind of flat nose, and a
scruffy goatee. A few minutes later a second squad car pulled up behind the first one. I watched in my rear-view
mirror as the arriving officer got out and walked up to the first one. They talked through the window pointing at me
and laughing. The new cop went back to his car and waited as the first came back to my car. By this time I was
approaching a full panic, my pulse was going wild, my mouth was dry, I was in a cold sweat. He asked me “Do you
know why I pulled you over?”
“N-no I don’t” but I was pretty sure I knew why.
“You were doing forty-five when you got on this road. This is a thirty mile and hour zone.” I just got off the
highway, of course I was doing forty-five I was slowing down. Did he really think I didn’t see him behind me that
whole time? Is he trying to make it look like he followed me six miles on the highway just to see how fast I’d be
going when I got off? Of course, I didn’t say that. A lot of my friends when I grew up gave cops lip just for the
pure heck of it. I would never do that to a guy with a gun and a nightstick. I knew since I was little to be polite and
He let me go only giving me a citation because I had accidentally forgotten to put my new insurance card in my
car. I got one of these the day before after the accident but was so nervous I had forgotten to replace it. I went
to the store and stocked up on frozen food as I knew I would be too nervous to cook again. When I got out to my
car the squad car was across the street in the other direction waiting for me to head on to the highway going
back. “There’s no way I’m going through that again if I can help it.” I said to myself. I went the other direction and
took the back roads home making very sure to stay off of any main roads.
When I got back I once again called home. I spoke to my parents about it and they continued to try to assure
me that it was probably nothing but I could hear a change in their voices. They told me to just go about my
business and not to worry. When you get down to it what else could they do from fifteen hundred miles away?
I decided to try to go back to the library and work. I got in my car and once again I was being followed by the
police. I turned onto campus and they turned with me. As I pulled into the parking garage I saw them slowly go
by. When I came out I saw the squad car only about fifty feet from the entrance but no police inside. I proceeded
to walk to the library when I noticed two Norman police officers following me about a hundred feet back. They
continued until I got to the library. I look out the glass door and saw them standing there with one of them talking
into a radio. I tried to do my research but I couldn’t concentrate at all. I decided to use one of the library
computers to look online and see what I might be up against. I found the definition of stalking. Nothing in the
statute fit me but it didn’t make me feel any better. The way it looked to me was that this was a case of he
said/she said and whom were they going to believe a common man or the state hero? I found that first offense
stalking is a misdemeanor. My thoughts were “If this is what’s going on why are they harassing me like this? You’
d think I was being accused of first-degree murder.”
When I got out the Norman police weren’t there anymore but two bicycle mounted OU police were sitting
outside. After I walked by I looked back and saw one of them talking in his radio. Just a few minutes later two
more OU officers were following me on foot up until I got to the parking garage. Needless to say I had become
terrified. When I got back I called my brother who called a Connecticut state prosecutor who was a long time
friend of his fiancée’s. I talked to her for a little bit and told her what was going on. “Go straight to the station and
file a harassment complaint. They haven’t formally charged you with anything and they can’t do that. That’s
excessive even if you were charged. Then contact the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) office and tell them
After getting off the phone I immediately left for the police station. I went to the desk with my citations in hand
and said that I would like to file a complaint against their officers. The woman at the desk took my citations in hand
and went into the back. The acting supervisor came out and I told him what was going on. All he gave me was a
long-winded speech on the integrity of the Norman police force and told me that I would have to wait until Monday
when the officer’s supervisor was on duty.
“Where’s your internal affairs office?” I asked “This can’t wait, I can’t even leave my apartment.”
“You have to take it through the supervisor and you’ll have to wait until tomorrow.” He said, obviously knowing
what was going on.
“Okay, I’m going to have to speak to a representative of the ACLU on this matter where’s....” He cut me off.
“No one is available until Monday.” By then I thought it would probably be too late. I left frustrated and scared
out of my mind.
What he had told me I knew to be a load of fertilizer. I didn’t know the procedure in Oklahoma but I knew that in
Connecticut the internal affairs department is very strict and hard on officers abusing their power. However, I had
heard that the Norman police were a very egotistical bunch, a large gang of bullies with badges. I at first thought
that they were probably just a little over zealous due to Norman being a college town complete with drunken frat
boys and the like. I was starting to learn the stories, if anything, were understated.
I got home and again a squad car was in the parking lot. I decided to go for a run. I needed to relieve some
stress and besides it’s not like they can pull me over if I’m not in a car. As I was running along I saw Shannon’s
car coming. She and Chris were inside but didn’t look at me. I found out later that they had just spent the day at
the police station and were probably in the back when I came in with my complaint. It was around a quarter after
seven when I got back. I knew something was going on by this point and this helped to frighten me more.
Shannon never seemed like the type to react without thinking or knowing the facts so I kept a hope that maybe we
could still work this out. I thought, “Maybe Angie can help. It’s her job to step in when there is trouble between
tenants concerning noise and all that. Maybe she can help here.” I decided to go to the office first thing in the
morning and speak with her.
I was nervous to the point were I couldn’t eat or concentrate even on the TV. I must have made about twenty
calls to friends and family for reassurance but little helped. I cracked open a beer to try to relax. I was still afraid
but it calmed me down enough to get a minimum amount of sleep even though it wasn’t the most pleasant sleep I’
ve ever had. Actually it was the worst. I don’t think I ever slept and had nothing but nightmares before in my life
When I woke up the next morning I was exhausted but the adrenaline was still pumping. I looked out the
window. No police. I got ready for the day as another even with this horrible feeling of dread. At eight thirty the
office would open, I arrived at eight forty. Angie was there and I told her the whole story, how Shannon and I were
friends, about the accident, her boyfriend’s accusation, the police harassment. She said, “So that’s why they
“Who was here?” I asked.
“The police came just ten minutes before you got here and asked how long you and Shannon had both lived
“Oh god, it’s true. They’re after me.”
“Maybe not. They might just be checking up on things. I had a guy following me back here for a while and
complained about it. After that they came back every now and then to check on it.”
I didn’t think that was the case here. Angie told me she would speak to Shannon and straighten things out.
That made me feel a little better but not much. I went back and got my books. As I walk across the street to get
the shuttle into campus I saw a few police cruisers come by. I flinched every time. Only about an hour later I was
in a squad car.
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Copyright 1999 Joseph Vogt