NEW YORK - A Georgia man who told police he and Tyra Banks "had a thing together" was convicted Thursday of stalking the supermodel-turned-TV host.

Brady Green, 39, of Dublin, Ga., was convicted by Manhattan Criminal Court Judge James Burke, who heard the case without a jury, of stalking, harassment, criminal trespass and attempted aggravated harassment.

Burke handed down his verdict the day after Banks testified that she feared for her safety. The judge said he found that Green had been "hounding" Banks.

However, Burke said he would not send Green to jail. He told defence lawyer Jeffrey Berman to help his client get psychiatric counselling and a job in "a location where he can thrive."

That "likely will not be the city of New York," the judge said.

Berman said he was disappointed with the verdict and planned an appeal but was glad the judge did not send Green to jail. Green had faced up to 90 days in jail at sentencing on June 18.

Banks testified Wednesday that she feared for her safety, and for that of her staff and family.

Authorities said Green, 39, repeatedly called Banks' studio, showed up there, and sent her flowers and letters. They said he also threatened to slit the throat of a staffer who refused to tell him where to find Banks' TV studio.

Green was arrested March 18, 2008, at a McDonald's restaurant near Banks' studio in the Chelsea neighbourhood of Manhattan. He told officers he and Banks "had a thing together," police said.

Banks said she was about to leave the studio that day when her staff warned her about Green. She said they had previously shown her Green's photograph, told her he had threatened one of her employees and was "somebody I should watch out for."

The former Sports Illustrated cover girl said she told officers at the scene that she was scared.

"I didn't know what to do. How do I live my life when I leave this building? I had never experienced anything like this before," she said.

Calm and smiling frequently as she testified, Banks said security "has changed significantly" around her and her workplaces because of Green.

She said that her company has hired more security staff and that her studio audiences are vetted more thoroughly.

Banks said she is now followed everywhere by security guards, even when she runs and exercises outdoors. Even though she is a public person, "I don't live that kind of sheltered, protected life," she said. "I like to walk around."

Green testified that Banks' shows on racism and homelessness had moved him and he wanted to contact her. He said his attempts to get tickets for her show had been misunderstood.

He also said he never threatened Banks, never intended to scare her and never tried to date her.

Assistant District Attorney Sean McMahon got Green to admit that he rode a bus for four days from Los Angeles to New York, where he had no friends, relatives and no job, and that the first he thing he did was go to the building that houses Banks' studio.

Banks is executive producer and host of two popular TV shows, "America's Next Top Model" and "The Tyra Banks Show."