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Sheriff: Accused Jewel stalker says God led him

A Wisconsin man accused of stalking singer-songwriter Jewel at her Texas ranch said he was on a mission from God.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A man accused of stalking singer-songwriter Jewel at her rural Texas ranch said he was on a mission from God, authorities said Tuesday.

Michael Lawrence Kozelka of Townsend, Wis., was arrested last week after he went two consecutive days to the 2,000-acre Stephenville ranch owned by Jewel’s husband, rodeo champion Ty Murray, said Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant.

After Kozelka was found on the ranch Sept. 14, the landowner warned him not to return, Bryant said. But on Sept. 15 Kozelka was found at the main house with a pocket knife in his clothing and a dog with him, although he did not resist arrest after deputies were called, Bryant said.

“He was not aggressive and was not mad,” Bryant told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “He just said he was on a mission from God, that God told him to come to Stephenville and led him to this ranch.”

Bryant declined to say what Kozelka may have said about Jewel or her husband, and it’s unclear if either was home at the time.

Kozelka, 50, was charged with stalking, a felony that carries a maximum 10-year jail sentence, according to jail records.

He has been jailed in Stephenville, about 75 miles southwest of Fort Worth, on $30,000 bond since his arrest.

His attorney, Michael Nicholls Pugh, declined to comment Tuesday, saying he was appointed to the case that afternoon and had not yet talked to Kozelka.

Attempts to reach Murray, a nine-time world champion rodeo cowboy and past president of Professional Bull Riders, were unsuccessful Tuesday. A publicist for Jewel did not immediately offer a statement.

‘He was a troubled man’Vickie Pintsch, co-owner of Pintsch’s Hardware in Townsend, Wis., said Kozelka lived in the area for years, working on construction and helping with repairs and odd jobs. Pintsch said she had not seen him for several months, although he visited her store occasionally.

“He was pleasant to talk to when he came into the store,” Pintsch said.

Ted Bartels, parish council president at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Townsend, which Kozelka attended until about a year ago, said Kozelka stopped going there after he got up in front of the church and voiced complaints about the education and the music director. According to Bartels, Kozelka said God compelled him to speak.

“I tried not to listen. I was embarrassed for him,” Bartels said. “He was a troubled man.”

Townsend, a town of about 1,000 people, is about 80 miles northwest of Green Bay.

According to Oconto County Circuit Court online records in Wisconsin, Citizens Bank foreclosed on property Kozelka owned in November and a sheriff’s sale was conducted in August.

William Foshag, an attorney for the bank, did not immediately return a telephone message Tuesday.

Bryant said Murray and Jewel were concerned about publicity over the incident. According to the incident and arrest reports obtained by The AP under the Texas Public Information Act, a pseudonym is used for Jewel, and few details are provided about what happened that day.

The couple have lived quietly for years on the ranch near Stephenville, a dairy community. Jewel, who was born Jewel Kilcher, is working on a second country album — the first, “Perfectly Clear,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s charts last year — as well as a second book of poetry.

The couple joined the cast of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” last spring, but injuries during training forced Jewel to drop out before the competition began.