Police officer thought of killing wife last year
Ken DeKleine said personal protection order was start
Saturday, January 26, 2008
BY MEGAN SCHMIDT firstname.lastname@example.org (616) 546-4279In the moments before her death, Lori DeKleine begged her husband, Holland police Officer Ken DeKleine, to "think of the kids" as he strangled her with a strap, a Michigan State Police detective testified during a preliminary exam in Holland District Court on Friday.
Sgt. Gary Miles said DeKleine confessed to the murder, saying that he'd first thought of killing Lori after she filed a personal protection order against him in January 2007.
Since then, the couple had separated and were in the midst of a divorce when Lori, 43, was found dead in the basement of her Calvin Avenue home earlier this month.
DeKleine told Miles that around 3 a.m. on Jan. 10, he hid in the attic of her house and waited for his two children to leave for school.
He planned to kill Lori after she got in the shower, part of her usual morning routine, Miles said.
But those plans changed when Lori called in sick to work around 10 a.m.
DeKleine told Miles that he climbed down from the attic and began to strangle Lori in the kitchen with a climbing strap.
"(Lori) made a statement, 'Think of the kids,'" meaning their two teenage children, Miles said, to which DeKleine replied that he was.
After checking her pulse to make sure she was dead, DeKleine dragged Lori's body into the basement and tied a clean, yellow strap around her neck to make it appear that she had committed suicide, Miles said.
When DeKleine left the house around 1 p.m., he told Miles that he threw his blood-stained clothing out of his car and drove to Prime Care to have a cut lip treated, which Lori had bit during the struggle.
He later bought some peroxide for the injury at Model Drug and drove to McDonald's for a chocolate milkshake before going in for his shift at work that afternoon, Miles said.
Defense attorney Floyd Farmer asked Miles if De-Kleine had expressed concern that Lori may have had a romantic relationship with her therapist. Miles said DeKleine had mentioned it during the interview.
An autopsy indicated that suicide by hanging was not the cause of Lori's death, according to testimony by David Start, Ottawa County medical examiner.
"There was no deep furrow or indentation that we usually see with hangings, deep in the tissue of the neck," Start said.
Start also said scrapes and bruises on Lori's body and bite marks on her tongue show that there was a struggle before she died.
Fractures above and behind her voice box were also not consistent with a suicidal hanging.
The cause of death was determined to be strangulation.
Holland police officer Jeffrey Velthouse, the first to arrive on the scene after Lori was found unresponsive, was handed a tissue as he sniffled on the stand Friday.
Velthouse said that as he entered the house, which he recognized immediately as the DeKleines' residence, he was directed to the basement by DeKleine's teenage son.
In the laundry room, he found Lori's body with a yellow strap tied around her neck.
"I reached down and touched her right elbow and could tell rigor mortis had set in," he said. "Her body temperature was cold."
After testimony, DeKleine's charge of open murder was forwarded to circuit court for trial in Grand Haven.
His arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 4.
Capt. Jack Dykstra of the Holland police said Friday that since officer Ken DeKleine's arrest due to suspicion of murdering his wife Lori, he has been placed on emergency suspension without pay.
"Basically that means that it's a serious situation, it involves something that caused us to have to immediately stop his employment status, and no pay is involved," Dykstra said. "Anytime something serious like this happens, typically an employee is suspended and there is further follow up and a decision is reached to either discipline or terminate" the employee, he said.
It has nothing to do with whether or not we believe (the allegations) are true," he added.