Gainesville man arrested for death threats against his neighbor

Staff report

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Mark Van Fetko, 58, was arrested on April 20 and charged with aggravated stalking and making a written threat to kill or injure after allegedly threatening to kill a neighbor.

The victim told a Gainesville Police Department officer that Fetko, his next-door neighbor, had sent “harassing” text messages over several weeks, but they escalated in the days just before the arrest. On April 18, Fetko allegedly sent multiple threatening text messages to the victim that caused the victim to believe his family’s lives were in danger.

The victim told the officer that he had sent a text message to Fetko that stated he did not want any contact, but Fetko continued to send threatening messages.

Fetko also allegedly removed a section of a fence between his house and the victim’s house and walked onto the victim’s property while recording a cell phone video. In the April 18 video, he reportedly said, “I could probably kill this guy and get away with it, but I wouldn’t, unless it was a fit of rage.”

The victim and his family temporarily moved out of their home out of fear for their lives.

Fetko has no criminal history; he was sent to the Crisis Stabilization Unit for mental health services after his arrest but has been returned to the jail. Judge Thomas Jaworski set bail at $2 million.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

  • Even the arrest affidavit doesn’t state what the origin of the arguments/texts started over. However, it appears his neighbor married this guy’s ex?

    • The defendant and his wife got divorced last year. The defendant, who was always a good guy before this, went into a mental health spiral. That led to the defendant fixating on the victim/neighbor. The victim/neighbor had nothing to do with the defendant’s wife or their divorce. It was all a figment of the defendant’s failed mental state. The victim/neighbor never did anything to the defendant. They didn’t have any problems prior to this episode. It’s a tragic story of a good guy simply losing it and then probably ruining the rest of his life.

      • Are you saying his exwife is not married to, nor living next door with the victim? I’m confused by the earlier reply.

        • No, the ex-wife has not, does not, and will never live at the victim’s house. There was never anything between the victim and the ex-wife. And the victim is not a felon. Everyone involved in this unfortunate mess are good people. The whole situation is 100% related to mental health.

  • He’s not in jail. I saw him at the gym today. Guy seemed off, out of place.

      • Cool, but that was yesterday. Today, as of this writing, is the 25th— the date I saw him. I guess he had the $200K or the article is missing newer information.

    • If you did, someone needs to issue a new warrant because he ain’t allowed within 500 feet of any of the GHFC facilities according to the court’s first appearance order. He was sent straight to Meridian and then straight back to the jail’s mental health unit, also pursuant to the court’s order. Jennifer is correct.

  • $2 million bail–ok fair enough, this guy sounds like he could be a clear and present danger.

    But it makes me wonder why do criminals with 19 violent felonies and a record in juvenile hall routinely walk away with $5k or other lowball bail?

    • This is Gainesville. Bail is always based on color.

  • All I can say is if your neighbor threatens you with bodily harm, be sure to get it in writing. Otherwise, the police will ignore it and tell you “there is noting we can do.” True story.

  • WTF was the crazy perp saying was his motive? The neighbor victim should have bought a gun, unless he’s a felon maybe. Sadly, felons cannot legally buy arms to genuinely defend themselves.

  • Obviously a mental breakdown that will end in someone getting hurt if there is no intervention. Judge Tommy set the high bail. There probably should be no bail until the guy is deemed fit. And to the commit on poor felons not being able to purchase guns to defend themselves. They made the choice to be felons deal with it.

  • This is strictly mental health issue some men can not handle a divorce and see their life worthless without her and get complete mental case this is how much power a woman can have over a man he has no criminal record you don’t decide to be the bad guy after 57 years old he definitely needs a psychiatric hospital and lots of medication to calm down and think more rational

    • Harout, You are spot on! He needs immediate help to deal with this problem in his head. It’s a real thing that happens after a breakup. What happened to our mental facilities? Are they gone?

    • The power of love is a curious thing. Make a one man weep, make another man sing.

      • Love hurts, love scars
        Love wounds and marks
        Any heart
        Not tough or strong enough
        To take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain
        Love is like a cloud
        Holds a lot of rain
        Love hurts
        Ooh, ooh, love hurts

  • 2M bail? The Judge Tommy failed in here. How you can set a$2M bail with crimes that have a max monetary penalty of $10k and $15k. The judge should be investigated.

  • >