(RAMSEY COUNTY, Minn.) — Lori Christensen, a woman described as the “neighbor from hell,” has been sentenced to probation for five yearsfor harassing a family in her neighborhood for years.
“That sentence is going to be consecutive to what she’s currently serving from a previous guilty plea for harassment,” Ramsey County District spokesman Dennis Gerhardstein told ABC News. “That sentence started in December 2011.” She was sentenced on Monday.
Gerhardstein said Christensen will be serving eight and a half years of probation total. There is also a no contact order in place for five years, during which Christensen cannot contact the family she was found guilty of harassing.
“We are appealing the court’s denial of her motion to withdraw her guilty plea,” Gary Bryant-Wolf, Christensen’s attorney told ABC News. “We are also appealing the consecutive nature of the sentence.” Bryant-Wolf said he believes Christensen’s probationary period should run concurrently to the one in place.
Though she’s been called the “neighbor from hell,” Christensen told ABC News’ 20/20 in an exclusive interview that she doesn’t deserve that nickname.
“I think I’ve just been trying to protect myself of being stalked and being bullied,” said Christensen, 50.
In September, Christensen tried to withdraw a guilty plea on felony charges of violating a restraining order brought by her former neighbors, Greg and Kim Hoffman of White Bear Lake, Minn. During a six year feud, there were more than 100 calls to police, almost 50 citations and enough mugshots to fill a photo album. Ramsey County District Judge Judith Tilsen refused Christensen’s request.
According to the Hoffmans, Christensen lobbed obscenities at their children, made lewd gestures and repeatedly taunted Kim Hoffman about her struggle with alcohol.
It all began in 1999, the Hoffmans told ABC News’ 20/20, when Christensen, once cordial with the Hoffmans, began screaming at Kim after she told Christensen about a spat between their daughters.
“You should have died,” Kim recalled Christensen swearing at her. “Why don’t you drink some more scotch?”
At the advice of the police, who made frequent visits to their neighborhood, the Hoffmans began videotaping Christensen’s behavior,
At their son Jake’s 12th birthday party, they recorded Christensen on video using a remote control car to simulate drunk driving, and on several occasions there were giant signs with messages covering Christensen’s garage, such as “I Saw Mommy Kissing a Breathalyzer” and “Get a Life you Stalking Loser Freak.”
The Hoffmans were eventually granted a harassment restraining order, which Christensen violated when she videotaped their home and their car.
Christensen told 20/20 that her trouble with the Hoffmans stems from their jealousy of her and another startling allegation of “Greg wanting to have a relationship with me.”
“I had no interest in that at all,” Christensen said.
“It is just another thing that Lori creates to justify her behavior. It never happened,” Greg Hoffman said.
Christensen said she has no remorse for telling Hoffman that she should have died after her alcohol relapse. “Why? Because that’s was where she was headed,” she explained. “She was the scotch drinker, not I.”
The giant signs that covered her garage, Christensen said, were not always directed at the Hoffmans.
“I have pictures of every Metropolitan Council bus driving down the street that said, ‘I saw Mama kissing a breathalyzer,'” Christensen said about one particular sign, adding that she’s a supporter of the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Christensen maintains that although some of the signs may have crossed the line, it was her first amendment right to post them
She maintains she never left her property or physically threatened the Hoffman family.
Christensen offered no apologies for the behavior that has, so far, landed her in jail twice.
“Why do I have to live my life to make them happy?” Christensen asked. “They sat at home every day on their front step watching me and my daughter.”
Standing by her actions, Christensen said, “I’m assertive. I hold my own. But I’m also a very compassionate person.”
Christensen remains barred from returning to her house and it is currently up for sale. Christensen said she sees losing her job, spending time in jail and being forced out of her neighborhood simply as “speed bumps” in her life.
“I’ve always been happy,” she said. “I love life.”
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