MISS POLAND MURDER
Jerzy L. has confessed to killing former 1991 Miss Poland and Miss International, Agnieszka Kotlarska, after stalking her for more than five years.
On Aug. 27, police allege, he approached Kotlarska as she was getting into a car with her husband, Jarosław Świątek, and daughter. Świątek jumped out of the car, the men began to scuffle, and Jerzy L. produced a hunting knife from his knapsack. Kotlarska jumped out of the car when she saw Jerzy L. stab her husband's leg. Jerzy L. has confessed that he then stabbed her four times in the chest. Kotlarska died in the hospital.
After the stabbing, police officers found Jerzy L. in his home. He immediately confessed to killing Kotlarska, saying he was mad with jealousy that the girl of his dreams had married someone else and had "ruined his life." He also told police he always carried the hunting knife and never intended to use it to commit a crime. He faces a sentence ranging from eight years in prison to the death penalty.
Jerzy L. first saw Kotlarska in 1990, when she was modeling. He tried to get a date with her, but she refused. Jerzy L. was persistent: He got her address and phone number and continued pursuing her.
After she won the Miss Poland title in 1991 and married, Kotlarska left for the United States and a career as a fashion model. She modeled for designers including Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein under the name "Aga." Her photographs appeared in Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Playboy.
After three years in the United States, Kotlarska returned to Poland with her husband and daughter to live in a single-family house in the Wrocław district of Maślice. She began appearing in television commercials, and had two film roles pending. Jerzy L. learned Kotlarska's new address and phone number after see her husband's name in one of many press interviews. Allegedly, he started calling again, asking in vain for a meeting, and prowled around her house, hoping to catch a glimpse of her.
Jerzy L. is 36 and a graduate of the Wrocław University of Technology. He works as a computer programmer in a bank. He lives with his parents; his mother says that he was only interested in jogging and computers.
Two months ago, Kotlarska barely escaped death by deciding at the last minute not to fly on TWA Flight 900, which crashed with no survivors off Long Island, New York. Kotlarska's photographer was among the victims.
Kotlarska is the third Polish beauty queen to die in tragic circumstances. In 1957, just after the finals of the Miss Polonia contest, the first runner-up, Krystyna Żyła, fell out of a window at Warsaw's Grand Hotel. In 1994, Magdalena Jaworska, 1984's Miss Polonia, was electrocuted in her own apartment, after dropping a hairdryer into the water while bathing.
Maciej Mich, Wrocław
Tadeusz De Virion, Warsaw attorney:
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According to legal theory, passion is a strong emotional response justified by the circumstances. Legal doctrines specify that passion can reduce ability for judicious action and is thus considered an extenuating circumstance. On the other hand, passion can be cited only when the reasons for the emotional response are morally justified. In each case, this is determined by the court.
Regarding the current case, there may have been feelings of unrequited love and jealousy, but it is doubtful the judge will consider these circumstances morally justified. Hence, it won't be a crime of passion.