Wife to Holland cop: 'Think about the kids'
Posted: Jan 25, 2008 10:22 AM EST
WOOD TV NEWS
By JOE LaFURGEY
HOLLAND -- Lori DeKleine's last words to her husband were, "Think about the kids." Her husband, Holland Police officer Ken DeKleine, replied, "I am thinking about the children."
This information came to light at DeKleine's preliminary exam for the murder of his wife, and his attempts to make it look like a suicide. It was also revealed he'd thought about killing her for nearly a year.
Three witnesses took the stand Friday, including the officer who found her body after their teenage son called police.
The officer testified he noticed inconsistencies with what was made to look like a suicide. A ladder was found a few feet away from Lori, and that didn't make sense to the officer.
The next day, during an interview with an Ottawa County detective, DeKleine admitted he'd been planning to murder his wife since January 31, 2007. But it wasn't until early December 2007 he actually formulated a plan.
Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Gary Miles testifed the day of the murder, DeKleine crawled up into the attic space above the garage and waited for his children to leave for school. He crawled down and confronted his wife. He used a gray strap to strangle her in the kitchen, and a fight ensued. She bit his lip severely, and blood got all over her clothes and his.
Her last words were, "Think about the kids." He replied, "I am thinking about the children."
"And then," Miles testified, "he continues to tighten it around her throat until he believes she's dead."
He then dragged her body downstairs and tried to make it look like a suicide. He noticed blood on the gray strap, so he found a yellow strap and wrapped that around her neck. But he became frustrated with the effort and left.
He disposed of some of the bloody clothes and went to a Med Center to get his lip sewn up. "He then went across the street or somewhere in the area to a McDonald's, bought himself a chocolate shake," Miles testified.
DeKleine then returned to work at the Holland Police Department around 3:45 p.m.
Divorce records obtained by 24 Hour News 8 shed light on DeKleine's frame of mind. He expressed concerns over his wife's mental stability and her ability to provide their two teenage children with a safe and stable home.
In the custody petition, DeKleine claims his wife suffered from mental illness and had attempted suicide. He also insinuates his wife was having an affair with a therapist she was seeing.
DeKleine, who is currently on an emergency unpaid suspension from the police department will next be in court on February 4, at which time a trial date will be set.
24 Hour News 8 will continue to follow this story.