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Accused John Rich Stalker Ordered to Wear GPS Tracker

Mark Christopher Sevier
Metro Nashville Police Department

The man accused of stalking country singer John Rich has been ordered to wear a GPS tracking device until he undergoes a mental evaluation.

36-year-old Mark Christopher Sevier was arrested on June 23 and charged with stalking the Big & Rich singer after Rich claimed he had repeatedly violated multiple restraining orders.

He was arrested again on Sept. 4 and charged with aggravated stalking and criminal impersonation after a 17-year-old employee at a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop claimed he had visited the store repeatedly and turned threatening when asked to leave.

Sevier was an attorney in Brentwood, an upscale Nashville suburb. According to police reports, Rich obtained multiple restraining orders against him in 2012, but had been growing more and more concerned about him in recent months. The singer claimed Sevier sent him a picture of himself draped in the American flag and covered in blood, and specifically mentioned his sons in an email.

The trouble between the two goes back years, to a copyright infringement lawsuit Sevier brought against Rich’s corporate entities disputing ownership of two songs Sevier wrote with an artist named Shanna Crooks. That case was decided in Sevier’s favor, but then overturned in 2011 on appeal due to “abuse of discretion,” Taste of Country reports. He is currently in disability inactive status after the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that he can’t practice law due to mental illness. Sevier suffers from PTSD as a result of his service in Iraq.

For his part, Sevier says that he was only trying to settle his differences with Rich when he contacted him by email, adding that the photo Rich referred to is a promotional shot for his band that is available online. Sevier alleges a conspiracy between Rich, his lawyers and others in the Tennessee legal system, claiming the singer has spent $500,000 to drag him through the courts and has also engaged in a public smear campaign to discredit him.

Sevier says the 17-year-old who accused him of stalking her is merely jumping on Rich’s bandwagon. He explains that his frequent presence at the Ben & Jerry’s shop was due to its proximity to Vanderbilt’s undergrad library, where as an alumni he says he has access to reference materials and inexpensive printing. “The undergrad library is coincidentally across the street from Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream shop,” Sevier states in a legal memorandum he shared with The Boot. “I like ice cream, not minors.”

Sevier says he is the misunderstood victim of unethical people who are punishing him for being a whistleblower. Rich appeared in court last week to personally ask the judge for the GPS tracking. “I have a 2-year-old son. I have a 4-year-old son,” Rich said (quote via the Tennessean). “That is the basis of my fears, that is, my kids… it’s red alert in my house.”

General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland ordered Sevier to wear the GPS tracking device until he completes a mental evaluation, saying it was the “least restrictive” condition he could impose under the circumstances. In addition to not having any contact with Rich or the 17-year-old, Moreland also ordered Sevier not to mention either one of them on any social media platform.

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