A Los Angeles judge has dismissed a criminal stalking charge against Thomas Brodnicki, a man accused of threatening to harm teen pop star and actress Selena Gomez, and issued an order for his release.
However, a civil restraining order that was issued against the 46-year-old, who has a history of mental illness, remains in place. Brodnick was arrested last month and has been in custody since October 31.
Brodnick had pleaded not guilty to stalking Gomez, 19. He appeared at a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, November 16. The judge ruled there was insufficient evidence and ordered that his criminal charge be dropped.
Brodnicki is accused of stalking Gomez between July and September. Gomez was granted a temporary restraining order against him last month.
It states says he must stay 100 yards away from Gomez, who said in a court filing that she has been living in "extreme fear" of him and feels her "personal safety, as well as the safety of those around me, is in jeopardy."
The documents state that Brodnicki had told his therapist while he was on a 72-hour mental health hold in September that he "had conversations with God and entertained thoughts of killing Ms. Gomez." They also say he had traveled to Los Angeles and had visited the star's workplace at least three times.
"Without a restraining order, I fear there will not be sufficient law enforcement mechanisms to keep Mr. Brodnicki away from me and my family," Gomez had stated. "I believe he will continue his pattern of coming to my workplace and I fear that his behavior will escalate and he will act on his threats to harm or kill me, unless he is ordered by this court to stop."
The documents say that a doctor had determined that Brodnicki "presented a serious danger of violence" to the singer and had reported his threats to law enforcement officials.
"The court, over our strong objection, ruled the defendant lacked the intent to cause fear to the victim and dismissed the case," the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com. "We are evaluating our next step."
Brodnicki was in 2010 sentenced to three years in prison for cyber-stalking a woman he had met in 2000, when she was 18. He was given credit for serving 661 days in an Illinois jail since his 2008 arrest. Brodnicki had previously been locked up and was forced to undergo psychiatric treatment for years after he was arrested on a 2003 stalking charge.
The man's former neighbors in Des Plaines, Illinois, say Brodnicki has not lived in the area for several years, WLS television in Chicago reported.
Gomez rose to fame with the Disney Channel series "The Wizards of Waverly Place" and is also known for her pop music and high-profile relationship with fellow teen singer Justin Bieber. After the two stepped out together publicly last year, several of his fans reportedly posted death threats and other nasty online messages to Gomez, although no legal action was taken.