About 100 people attended a pool party in Wentzville on Memorial Day weekend 2010. Neither Megan nor Ben showed, but most partygoers were their friends or acquaintances, including the man who'd officiated their wedding: Patrick Coyne. Coyne is a St. Charles-based attorney and a municipal judge in Old Monroe. He grew concerned after someone entered the party waving a postcard from Petrovic. One by one the guests pulled up marriedtomegan.com on their phones.

"Everybody started getting real excited," Coyne testified later. "There was laughter and jeering."

When Coyne finally glanced at a photo, however, he wasn't amused.

"It didn't seem to me that it was legal," he said.

Within a few days the site had "caught fire" in St. Charles, Coyne said, so he contacted a county prosecutor.

At the same time, post office officials in St. Peters and O'Fallon were making phone calls to downtown St. Louis, alerting U.S. postal inspector John Jackman to Petrovic's mailings. They faxed him some copies.

"At first I wondered if somebody was trying to run a prostitution ring," Jackman told RFT. On June 6, he and a colleague drove out to Ben's house and knocked on the door. Megan greeted them. She appeared relieved, Jackman said, and broke down into tears several times while telling her tale.

From that day forward, she phoned Jackman often.

"She was in fear of her life," Jackman said. "She really thought this guy was going to come kill her."

Megan called Jackman on June 20, informing him that Petrovic had just posted a new message on the site. Jackman pulled it up and read it.

"Nobody can stop me to publish this website," Petrovic had typed. "But if Megan... give me my furniture, what she stoled from me, the wedding and engagement ring, because she never want to be married to me, and $100,000 what I spend for her, her kids and her divorce attorney back, I will be more than glad to turn off this website."

To Jackman, that sounded like extortion.

He obtained warrants and took them to Fort Myers. On July 19, Jackman and another inspector waited outside Petrovic's residence for two hours. When he returned home in his black Lexus, they arrested him. He was cooperative, so they took off his handcuffs.

The house was well appointed and neat, Jackman said. Petrovic kept Megan's clothes on hangers and her shoes aligned perfectly. He also kept multiple binders of their text messages, color-coded and organized.

Several times, Jackman said, Petrovic explained that he simply wanted his website to "tell a story." And several times he referenced The Game, the 1997 psychological thriller in which Michael Douglas' character tries to commit suicide after living through an elaborate hoax.

"I think he was turning this into something like that movie," Jackman said, "that it would be so traumatic that the person couldn't deal with it, that they'd eventually try to take their own life."

Petrovic told the inspectors that the footage he had captured at the Drury Inn now resided on his laptop and hard drive — and that Megan had consented to it.

However, when Jackman watched the raw footage later, he noticed that Petrovic set up the camera three hours before Megan ever entered the room and never discussed it with her. During their lovemaking, she complained that it was too bright, but Petrovic wanted to leave the lamp on. She also complained about the cold, but Petrovic wanted to do it on top of the covers.

The inspectors seized the laptop, the binders and other evidence.

On July 28, 2010, federal prosecutors in St. Louis charged Petrovic with four counts of interstate stalking, one count of interstate extortion and one count of stalking with a dangerous weapon — the U-Haul van.

Petrovic was released in Florida on unsecured bond of $50,000 and ordered to disable marriedtomegan.com. He claimed he needed his seized laptop in order to comply, but the feds refused to release it in order to complete a forensic exam. A full month later, pretrial services grew impatient and threatened Petrovic with jail time if the site remained up. He quickly took it down — tellingly, without the aid of his laptop.

Jovica Petrovic didn't mesh well with any of his lawyers. Two withdrew, one claiming that Petrovic had "provided false information regarding payment." Petrovic fired another two. In March 2011 the court appointed an advocate who'd already represented several high-profile criminals: attorney Steve Stenger.

"All of us are entitled to a lawyer when we're charged with crimes," explains Stenger, who also serves as a St. Louis County councilman. "The court oftentimes calls me when the client is very difficult to deal with, and I really consider that an honor."

Stenger concedes, though, that his dealings with Petrovic grew "contentious."

The defendant refused to admit any guilt and rejected all plea deals offered by the U.S. Attorney's Office. When Petrovic insisted on going to trial, Stenger asked him repeatedly for names of witnesses who might bolster his case. Petrovic demanded access to his seized laptop first. And around and around they went.

On June 25, 2011, Stenger visited Petrovic at the St. Charles County jail. According to one of many filings that Petrovic composed by hand, Stenger began "yelling and screaming," insulting him with names such as "Mr. Smarty Pants" and "Mr. Funny Voice." Stenger, in turn, asserted in a letter that Petrovic kept talking over him and refused to discuss strategy.

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