SAN FRANCISCO—On August 17, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office revealed that a jury after deliberating for 5 hours found Joshua Elliott, 45, of San Francisco, guilty of stalking and domestic violence.
“This victim was absolutely terrorized by his stalker, he was living in fear,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “I commend him for getting out of an abusive relationship, and I urge anyone living in fear to come forward and to contact authorities. We are here to help.”
According to the SFDA’s Office website, court records revealed that Elliott and the victim were in a relationship and cohabitated for two months in 2017. The victim ended the relationship after seeing a pattern of possessive and controlling behavior.
In January 2018, the defendant sent the victim messages noting he knew where he was. At times the victim suspect he was being followed, but was unaware that on December 28, 2018, Elliott purchased a GPS tracking device manufactured by a company called Spytec. The device is marketed to law enforcement personnel and civilians with interests in spyware. Elliott attached the device to the victim’s vehicle, which has software that allows users to monitor its physical location.
On January 17, 2018, the victim was leaving SFGH at 2 a.m. when he received a text message from Elliott and simultaneously noticed that the defendant was driving by him slowly and staring him down as he entered his car outside the hospital.
Approximately one week later, the victim was at home in San Pablo, California where after he went outside to walk his dog with a friend and found Elliott sitting there. Elliott confronted the victim and verbally asserted he has the power and control, and that if he did not do as told things were going to “get worse” for him.
On February 16, the victim was driving across the Bay Bridge from San Pablo at approximately 4:50 a.m. to work when he spotted a car “keeping pace” with him. The victim recognized the occupant inside to be Elliott. The victim made a detour to avoid the defendant, but after arriving at work he was confronted by Elliott who was waiting for him in the parking lot. Elliott approached the victim and stopped him from entering his workplace. Elliott told the victim he “won’t be doing this every day,” and when the victim asked what he meant; Elliott said that the victim would not be “getting up every day.” When Elliott discovered that the victim was recording the incident on his cell phone, he attacked the victim in an effort to get his phone. A struggle ensued, where the victim sustained minor wounds to his hand and back. Bystanders intervened, Elliott fled the scene and the victim called the police.
On February 20, the victim was at the Hall of Justice giving a follow up statement regarding the February 16 incident with SVU when the victim received a text from Elliott saying, “What do you know? While meandering around the city, I happened to see your car by the courthouse. Could be a work coincidence.” GPS records related with the tracking device revealed Elliott tracked the victim to where his car was parked by the courthouse.
On February 23, the victim who suspected being followed had his vehicle inspected and discovered a magnetic box labeled “SpyTec” stuck to the driver’s side rear wheel well of his car. He took photos of the box. To prevent Elliott from knowing he was aware that he was being tracked, the victim put the GPS device back on his vehicle.
On February 24, the victim drove to Georgetown, California to visit his mother and received a text message the next day from Elliott which said, “I don’t suppose I have to tell you how beautiful the property is.” On February 25, while at his mother’s home, the victim checked his car and saw that the tracking device was removed from the car.
On March 9, the victim received countless text messages from Elliott stating that “Today was the day,” and that this particular day marked the “turning point.” The victim noticed that the tracker reappeared on his car at the same location. Concerned about his wellbeing, the victim permanently removed the tracker.
On March 21 at approximately 3:30 a.m., the victim parked his car near his work so that he could sleep because of the incidents with Elliott. The victim would often stay at work because he knew there was a security camera aimed at the entrance of the parking lot. While in his car he spotted another car pass by without its headlights on. The victim pulled out of the parking lot and saw that the other car was Elliott’s vehicle. The victim attempted to get away and contacted 911 to report that Elliott was following him. Elliott followed the victim for approximately two miles until he parked to meet with officers who had been sent to him by dispatch. Later that morning, the victim was at work when he Elliott parked outside of his workplace again. The victim immediately called 911, where Elliott left prior to the police arriving.
Elliott was subsequently arrested on a DA warrant. A review of the data records associated with the tracking device used in this case displays that Elliott utilized a geofence feature of the software. It allowed users to set up an alert system that informs the user when the tracking device enters within a certain radius of specific locations. The data revealed that Elliott was monitoring the victim’s mother’s residence in Georgetown, California, the victim’s trailer area, the victim’s place of business, the victim’s grandparent’s home, and a victim’s friend’s home in Roseville, California.
“We all have the freedom to decide who we want to be with,” said ADA Courtney Burris. “But when a decision to end a relationship is met with threats, harassment and intimidation, that is criminal, and there will be consequences.”
Joshua Elliott will be sentenced on September 21 in Department 25 at 9 a.m. “This successful prosecution is the result of an investigation conducted by SFPD’s Special Victims Unit,” said the SFDA’s Office in a press release.