One of the most popular radio DJs in town, Mary Lucia of 89.3 the Current, will finally return to the air next week after a seven-month hiatus brought on by continued run-ins with a stalker.
"I've felt lost and powerless," Lucia said in a letter posted on the Current's website announcing her return.
The rock-radio host, an influential voice going back to her days at early-'90s alt-rock station Rev 105 FM, will ease back into her role on Minnesota Public Radio's hip music station with a shortened schedule starting Monday.
Her usual 2-6 p.m. time schedule will last Monday through Thursday, but not Friday. She is also relinquishing host duties of her Friday night show "Rock and Roll Radio" for the time being.
Lucia had hoped to return to the airwaves only after the case against her stalker had been resolved, but it has been dragged out months longer than expected and is still ongoing. She made the decision to return despite that after "much careful thought," her note said.
She will not yet address the case on air or in the media.
"After multiple trial postponements and legal curve balls of which I have no control, I'm a little heartbroken to say this has gotten far more complicated than I could've imagined," her letter read. "Because of that, I can't really talk about the case. Man, silence is not always golden nor empowering."
Patrick H. Kelly, 56, of Eden Prairie, pleaded guilty in Hennepin County District Court in late August to felony stalking and terroristic threats against Lucia shortly before jury selection was to begin.
Kelly has remained jailed since June in lieu of $100,000 bail ahead of a mental competency hearing in December. The Hennepin County attorney's office last week filed an objection to a doctor's finding and is claiming that Kelly "is in fact competent."
The stalking started after Lucia sent a sympathetic e-mail to a listener who wrote grieving about his dead dog. Before long, the man began sending a stream of e-mails, phone calls and gifts — flowers, sausages, candy and a picture of a man in a mask, according to court records.
In July 2014, Kelly was served with restraining orders from Lucia and Minnesota Public Radio requiring him to stay away from Lucia, Lucia's Minneapolis home and the MPR headquarters in St. Paul where she worked. Kelly continued coming to her home, though, leaving a bottle of wine and a note on her doorstep in August 2014 and returning as late as this past June to leave a book and letter for her.
In the interim months, Lucia said in her note, "I've consumed books like air, as that is as close to meditation as I can get."
"I've realized I'm strong, but I'm not that strong. I've needed help and still do in order to be the person I know I am capable of being."
Support for Lucia from musicians and fans was rampant on social media in April, when her hiatus was announced, and it started ramping up again Monday when her return was announced.
"So proud of my girl getting back to the mic," read a tweet from KARE 11 news reporter Jana Shortal.
Lucia's fellow Current staffers also cheered the news.
"I am really happy to welcome our friend Mary Lucia back to the Current airwaves!" program director Jim McGuinn wrote in a separate letter posted on the station's site. "Mary, from all of us at the Current and MPR, we missed you and are so happy to have you back!"