By Emily Mieure
Jackson Hole News & Guide
Via Wyoming News Exchange
JACKSON — A Teton County inmate will soon be transferred to the Wyoming State Penitentiary after admitting to terrorizing several women by stalking them.
John Zechariah Harmon, or “Zech,” as friends call him, was sentenced Tuesday to four to eight years in prison.
“Fear is a use of power,” Harmon said during the sentencing hearing. “I also lie as a way to control. My narcissistic and sociopathic tendencies have led me down a destructive path.”
Harmon, 32, pleaded guilty to violating probation on a felony stalking charge. In a plea agreement the state dismissed a second felony stalking charge.
“Before he was arrested he was bragging about how he was out there ‘stalking bitches,’” Teton County Deputy Prosecutor Clark Allan told Judge Timothy Day. “He has held a reign of terror over the women in his life, psychological terror and physical violence.”
Allan asked Day for the maximum amount of prison time: 10 years.
“Even on my most ambitious days I don’t generally ask for the maximum,” Allan said. “But, your honor, you cannot save this man. You can only save his victims.”
Harmon was placed on five years of probation Nov. 27 for felony stalking after pleading guilty.
Police said in that case he stalked a woman and threatened to cut her to pieces.
“She’s my trophy,” Harmon messaged one of the victim’s friends. “It’s time to collect what’s mine. If I’m going to cut her to pieces she should hope she wouldn’t go to the one place I know where she’s going to be.”
The woman obtained a no-contact order, but Harmon soon violated it and was arrested.
That victim told the court in a letter that she’s terrified about Harmon getting out of jail and coming after her or her family.
“I worry he will show up to my work one day and pull a gun on me,” she said. “I worry this will continue for the rest of my life and that he won’t stop until he gets what he wants: me dead or hurt.”
When Harmon was sentenced to probation on that infraction, police said, he already had his next victim in mind.
“When he appeared before you and promised you that he would obey your orders and be good, as he sat there he had already chosen his next victim and planned his next move,” Allan said.
Allan said Harmon preyed on a woman by pretending he worked on her new house.
When the victim blocked Harmon, he used an application to message her, pretending to be someone else.
When he was arrested on another charge of felony stalking, other alleged victims from Harmon’s past started pleading for prison.
“He said he had been sitting in my closet in the dark with a knife so he could cut my head off,” one woman wrote. “Zech being in jail is the only thing allowing me to live a normal life.”
Harmon didn’t object to any of the stories: “I can’t take back the fear and pain that I have caused, but I hope someday they can learn to forgive me,” he said.
Judge Day said Harmon has shown little progress throughout his pretrial confinement.
“If we have any hope that you can change your conduct there has to be more significant consequences,” Day said, “a jolt of justice that’s greater than six months in the county jail.”
Day sentenced Harmon to four to eight years in prison with credit for about 11 months of pretrial confinement.
He also strongly recommended Harmon undergo psychological and anger management evaluations while incarcerated.
“I hope that the time you are incarcerated that you take advantage of every single program you possibly can and don’t give up on trying to change,” Day said.