We usually use this column to recklessly mock regional idiots who accidentally shoot their toes off or are busted for running pathetic Ponzi schemes. But this week, we're issuing a public service announcement.
Lovelorn ladies of South Florida, do not date the man whose pictures you see here. Even if -- especially if -- he shows up knowing your favorite flavor of ice cream and claiming to be the bishop of the Archdiocese of Miami or a back-up catcher for the Marlins or the guy who invented the inflatable air mattress. Turn around and run to the nearest courthouse and get a restraining order. Not that that would stop him.
This week's feature story describes several episodes of weird and out-of-control violence occuring on the Miami Gardens campus of Florida Memorial University. Among them: the creepy tale of one female student's involvement with Jervon Antonio Smith, an Opa-locka resident who got all Mark-Wahlberg-in-Fear on her ass.
Smith had stalked the student, named Phylise, ever since he saw her in an FMU commercial, she later testified in court. He gathered information at a local barbershop in order to know everything about her before he accidentally/on purpose ran into her and persuaded her to go on a date in the summer of 2002. When Smith wasn't claiming to be a pastor, he said he was a detective, Phylise testified, but she discovered the badge he flashed was from a former security guard gig.
Some of Smith's wooing tactics seem a tad unconventional. For instance, he flattened the tires on her Honda, Phylise claimed, smacked her around at her part-time job, stole her cell phone, and threatened her life. "Bitch, you going to be pushing daisies" -- which Phylise claims Smith told her several times -- just doesn't have the same friendly tone to a potential girlfriend as, say, "Call you on Saturday, then?"
When Phylise dumped him, Smith waited for her outside her dorm room, dragged her from her car, and stomped on her face. He kicked loose four teeth, and Phylise had to have reconstructive surgery to repair her upper lip. He spent 270 days in prison for the attack.
Court records reveal Smith might be South Florida's least eligible bachelor. In 1998, he was named in a paternity suit. In 2006, another woman filed a restraining order against him, claiming repeat violence. That same year, he was convicted of making threatening phone calls -- the ultimate creep cliché.
As if it all weren't bad enough, Smith is still desperately trying to pass himself off as a man of God. We found this website -- turn down your speakers unless your boss is really into new-age gospel -- in which "Dr. Jervon A. Smith" -- we're calling bullshit on that Ph.D., buddy -- poses like a serene Montel Williams clone and purports to be the founder of "Truth in the World Ministries." Florida corporation records show he registered that church in 2006. But a Google search on its address turns up this crappy-looking Opa-locka domicile, which we're guessing is his home/stalking operation headquarters.
If you're still not convinced, we present the following video ripped from Smith's website. Just imagine him doing this irate dance in your front yard instead of a church -- and there's no gospel drowning him out, just his frantic declaration that he'd rather spend his days at the Everglades Correctional Institute than without you. Think your neighbors would be down with that?