Kournikova Stalker Given Warning

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A homeless man accused of stalking tennis star Anna Kournikova was ordered Wednesday to permanently stay at least 1,000 feet away from her if he gets out of jail.

William Lepeska, who has been detained in a psychiatric unit on $250,000 bond, faces up to 30 years in state prison if convicted of two counts of battery on police officers, resisting arrest and burglary, all felonies. He also faces misdemeanor charges of stalking, indecent exposure and criminal mischief.

The 40-year-old Lepeska, who once stabbed a sleeping college student, admitted swimming nude across Biscayne Bay, bound for Kournikova's $5 million estate Jan. 30. He was arrested when he turned up on the pool deck at the wrong house and started yelling, "Anna! Save me!"

"I was absolutely shocked and fearful, and I was very much concerned for my safety," Kournikova testified. "It was very frightening and scary and just knowing there is someone out there who's obsessive."

She said she has hired bodyguards for the first time and added security at her home since Lepeska's arrest.

The 23-year-old Russian athlete - known more for her looks than her play on the court - sought the civil restraining order after Lepeska sent her six sexually explicit letters plus e-mails to her Web site since August.

In one letter, Lepeska explained that if they "were lovers we would have no need for other people, food or water," according to court papers.

Lepeska served a Wisconsin prison term for stabbing a man sleeping in a university student union coffeehouse and telling police he was "a slave to an evil that he could not escape" in 1995.

Before court convened, Lepeska told reporters that he was in love with Spice Girl Melanie Brown for five years and repeatedly wrote her, "but finally I said the heck with her, moving on to greener pastures."

Lepeska acknowledged past mental illness at the hearing, where he acted as his own attorney.

"I thought Anna possibly had some sincere regard for me," he said. "I had all sorts of delusional assumptions about Anna."

When the judge concluded Lepeska showed "stalking behavior," he interrupted to say, "Proper courting behavior."

After he was told contact with Kournikova wasn't allowed, Lepeska lashed out at the judge and her "Mafia accent." He said he may pursue an insanity defense in his criminal case.


By Catherine Wilson
  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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