Officer Kenneth DeKleine [Holland PD]: Allgations that Officer DeKleine had abused his ex-wife Lori so severly that she feared for her life.
Allegations were never criminally investigated by the Holland PD, where Lori's PPO was filed. After Lori's murder the Holland Police Chief stated that he had never reviewed Lori's PPO.
In January 2008, Officer DeKleine murdered Lori. He was convicted in July 2008 and sentenced to life in prison.
On January 31, 2007, Lori DeKleine obtained a personal protective order against her ex-husband [Officer Kenneth DeKleine]. A copy of Lori's PPO was filed with her ex husband's police department / the Holland PD.
In her PPO, Lori wrote, "I have become increasingly terrified and afraid for my life..."
At Officer Ken DeKleine's trial [for murdering Lori], Holland Reserve Officer Brian Ehler stated that Ken had told him [prior to Lori's murder] that the children would be better off without Lori.
Officer Brian Ehler also testified about a discussion he had with Officer DeKleine, prior to Lori's murder...."I do recall Ken saying something about strangling someone could be, probably, a practice that would be difficult to investigate..."
One day before Officer Kenneth DeKleine murdered Lori, Reserve Officer Brian Ehler had a conversation with Ken. Officer Ehler informed Officer DeKleine that he had heard from others that Lori expressed a fear for her life. Officer Dekleine did not respond to the question. Nor did he deny Officer Ehler's claim...
However, Chief John Kruithoff [Holland PD], never investigated Lori's claims that Officer DeKleine had abused her/ violated criminal laws...and that he was possibly a threat to her. After Lori was murdered by Officer DeKleine [January 10, 2008] Chief Kruithoff admitted that he didn't even know what was contained in Lori's personal protective order [that had been filed with his police department in January 2007].
Slain wife feared officer, friend says
Sunday, January 13, 2008
By John Tunison and John Agar
The Grand Rapids Press
HOLLAND -- To neighbors and fellow officers, Holland police Officer Ken DeKleine was almost perfect -- polite, sociable, a devoted Christian and good at his job.
But to his estranged wife, he had become a threatening presence, a friend and neighbor of Lori DeKleine said.
"I know she was scared of him and didn't want him in the house," said Victoria Paauwe, devastated after learning late Thursday that Lori DeKleine, 43, was found dead in her basement.
She was so concerned she had a personal protection order against her husband, a 13-year respected police veteran now facing a murder charge in a slaying that has stunned the community.
The order was supposed to keep him away, although Paauwe remembered one instance when he came too close to the Calvin Avenue home and police were called to the scene.
"This is just mind-blowing," Paauwe said. "I think there had been some pushing and shoving, but I never thought it would come to this."
Ken DeKleine, 44, was the father of two teens with his wife. He was to be arraigned Monday on an open murder charge in Holland District Court.
The news shocked former colleagues, who knew DeKleine as an easygoing cop who could defuse tough situations.
"If somebody would have ever said, 'Is Ken DeKleine even capable of something like that?' I'd have bet him a million dollars, no way," retired Sgt. Mark Bos said. "It's tragic. It's a shame.
Now, we've got two teen-agers and no parents."
With 33 years in police work, Bos figured little could surprise him.
"I was just drained, unbelievable. This was just a tremendous shock." he said.
Lori DeKleine's body was discovered about 6:50 p.m. Thursday by her teenage son, Christopher, who called 911. Police investigated whether her death might be a suicide, but an autopsy and inconsistencies at the scene pointed at homicide.
Ken DeKleine was arrested late Friday. The cause of death was not released, and Ottawa County Medical Examiner David Start, who performed the autopsy, referred questions to police.
Relatives of the DeKleines were at the couple's home Saturday afternoon to collect clothes and other items for the children, Breanne and Christopher, both Holland Christian High School students. The DeKleines' home is across from Holland Heights Christian Reformed Church, where Lori worked as publications editor and the couple still attended even while separated.
Family members declined comment.
A Holland Heights CRC elder said the congregation was in shock.
Brad Ward said both Lori and Ken were involved in youth and Sunday school programs.
"They were well-respected, a great family. There's a lot of grief right now," he said, asking the community to pray for the family.
Lori was a member of Focus Plus, a support group for attention-deficit disorder, served on the Holland Christian Schools Tuition Assistance Board and had been a teacher at Borculo Christian School.
Ken DeKleine moved out of the family's home sometime after December 2006, neighbor Victoria Paauwe said. She said she believed the personal protection order was issued the next summer.
"I don't think he wanted the divorce," said Paauwe, who also described Ken as a "nice guy" and the first person to greet her when she moved in 18 months ago.
Services for Lori DeKleine are 1 p.m. Monday at Holland Heights CRC, 836 E. Eighth St. Visitation is 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. today at the church.
Memorial contributions can be made to the DeKleine children's education fund.
Police: DeKleine confessed to strangling wife; personal protection order reveals new details
WZZM News, Channel 13
Created: 1/14/2008 2:19:36 PM
Updated: 1/14/2008 6:59:54 PM
Holland - Police documents released today say Holland Police officer Ken DeKleine confessed to strangling his wife to death.DeKleine was formally charged on open murder charges this afternoon in Ottawa County District Court.
Investigators found the body of his wife, Lori, in the couple's Holland home on Thursday.
The Ottawa County Sheriff's Department says Holland Police turned the case over to them. After sheriff's investigators reviewed the evidence and received information from Lori DeKleine's autopsy, they arrested her husband.
In an arrest warrant released today, police say they questioned DeKleine three times and that he confessed during the third interrogation.
The warrant says DeKleine strangled his wife, using a strap around her neck. Investigators say DeKleine placed her body in the home's basement in an attempt to make her death appear to be a suicide.
In the warrant, investigators say they recovered blood from the scene and presume it belongs to DeKleine. They say he claimed he was bitten on his lip by his wife.DeKleine was arrested Friday afternoon after the Ottawa County Sheriff was called to assist Holland Police Thursday night after her body was found. A Personal Protection Order has been in place since January 31, 2007 against DeKleine and there have been violations of that PPO.
Our partner the Grand Haven Tribune has obtained a copy of the personal protection order. It was filed on January 31st, 2007 and quotes Lori DeKleine. She says, "I have become increasingly terrified and afraid for my life," referring to Holland Police Officer, Ken DeKleine.
In the protection order, Lori DeKleine claims she was coerced into sexual acts on several occasions during their marriage and molested while on sleep medications.
She also says, “Ken has been a sexual and emotional bully throughout our marriage, beginning on our honeymoon,” DeKleine went on to say, “His behavior continues to stifle my well-being and safety.”
We will continue to follow this story on WZZM 13 News at 11pm and you can also read more in tomorrow's Grand Haven Tribune.
Victim was terrified of her husband, records show
Grand Haven Tribune
Tue, Jan 15, 2008
Lori DeKleine was aware of the danger signs around her. "I have become increasingly terrified and afraid for my life," she wrote in a personal protection order filed in Ottawa County Circuit Court on Jan. 31, 2007, against her husband, Holland police officer Ken DeKleine...
In the protection order, Lori DeKleine cites three specific incidents in mid-December 2006 and early January 2007. She claimed she was coerced into sexual acts on several occasions during their marriage and molested while on sleep medications. "Ken has been a sexual and emotional bully throughout our marriage, beginning on our honeymoon... His behavior continues to stifle my well-being and safety"...
The final straw that apparently led to the filing of the protection order was an episode during the last weekend of January 2007, while the couple was still living together. "I believe Ken broke into the locked room I have been sleeping in to stay safe," she said. "I believe he broke in through the window in the room, leaving glass all over the bed and blood stains throughout the room and house"...
Lori DeKleine wrote that she found several recording devices in her backpack, on their home phone and under some clothing in their bedroom. "The next week Ken told me I was 'under investigation,'... I was afraid that he might harm himself or return and harm me," she wrote.
The initial incident that Lori DeKleine specified in the protection order was an unexpected visit in December 2006. She claimed Ken, his brother Keith, and a friend named Mike Dozeman came to the house, and Ken began reciting Lori's previous friendships and journal entries to discredit her in front of their two children...
Terms of the divorce, mostly concerning child custody, kept the case open through the end of the year. The original terms called for joint custody of the children, but Lori did not want to oblige, which sent the case to the county Friend of the Court for a ruling. By this point, court records show, the DeKleine children wanted nothing to do with their father...
Officer: DeKleine said kids better off without mother
Second day of testimony continues
By Staff reports
The Holland Sentinel
Posted Jul 09, 2008 @ 12:36 PM
Last update Jul 09, 2008 @ 01:07 PM
Holland, MI —A Holland Police Department reserve officer testified Wednesday, July 9, that he had a conversation with Ken DeKleine in which DeKleine said his two children would be better off without their mother.
DeKleine, 45, a former Holland police officer, is on trial this week in Ottawa County Circuit Court in Grand Haven for allegedly murdering his wife, Lori, 43, in January.
Lori was found dead in the basement of her home at 229 Calvin Ave. on Jan. 10, with a nylon strap tied around her neck.
The cause of her death was determined to be strangulation.
On Wednesday, Reserve Officer Brian Ehler testified that, in a conversation, Ken said Lori was suffering from a mental disorder and that Ken felt the children would be better off without Lori.
Also Wednesday, a coroner testified that there were signs of struggle on Lori’s body that were not consistent with suicide.
Ken is a 13-year veteran of the Holland Police Department.
He and Lori had been in the midst of a divorce at the time of her death, and Ken had moved out of their Calvin Avenue home and filed for divorce in June 2007.
Lori had filed a restraining order against him in January 2007, alleging that she feared for her safety around Ken.
Ken faces life in prison if found guilty of the two charges of first-degree murder and felony murder.
DeKleine trial: 'I know what I was doing'
updated July 10, 2008 03:02
By Joe LaFurgey
GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) - About a half-dozen Holland police officers who worked alongside Ken DeKleine testified Wednesday at his murder trial.
And a friend of DeKleine's testified DeKleine basically admitted killing his wife during a jail cell chat in May.
One of the officers who took the stand was veteran detective Roger VanLiere. He said DeKleine came to work late on January 10, the day Lori was killed. "There was a look about his face that appeared to be different than what I had seen before from Ken," VanLiere said.
Brian Ehler, a Holland Police Department reserve officer became friends with DeKleine when the now ex-cop was Ehler's training officer at the department.
Ehler said he met with DeKleine in his jail cell just before Mothers Day.
In that meeting, Ehlers said he told DeKleine he wished something could have been done to prevent Lori DeKleine's death.
"Ken's response back to me was, Brian, you can't beat yourself up about this. I know what I was doing," Ehlers said on the stand in Day 2 of the trial.
Ehler also testified about a discussion he had with Ken DeKleine before the murder of his wife.
It centered on a training session Ehler attended, hosted by a local medical examiner, on how to identify strangulation cases.
"During this conversation, I do recall Ken saying something about strangling someone could be, probably, a practice that would be difficult to investigate."
Ehler and DeKleine discussed the DeKleine's marital woes the day before the murder.
Ehler had heard from mutual friends that Lori expressed a fear for her life. Prosecutor Ronald Franz asked what response Ehler got on that question.
"Honestly, I don't remember getting any response," Ehler said. "I think we went on to a different subject, but there was no direct response."
"He didn't deny it?"
"No," Ehler said.
In earlier testimony Wednesday, it didn't take long for the medical examiner to determine Lori DeKleine did not commit suicide.
Dr. David Start testified he would have challenged the notion Lori killed herself.
DeKleine reportedly told detectives he killed his estranged wife but tried to make it look like a suicide.
Start, the Kent County medical examiner, said marks caused by a strap placed around her neck showed signs of a struggle that were inconsistent with suicide.
He said internal neck injuries, such as she had, are also not usually found in a suicide.
Thursday, DeKleine's videotaped confession is expected to be played in court.
24 Hour News 8 will continue to follow this trial.
Officer Ken DeKleine - Murdered ex-wife Lori - Holland PD [Jan 10, 2008]
Officer Ken DeKleine - PPO violations & Abuse allegations
Officer Kenneth Dekleine, PPO violation :January 10, 2008
Officer Kenneth Dekleine, PPO violation: January 08, 2008
Officer Kenneth Dekleine, PPO violation: September 2007
Officer Kenneth Dekleine, PPO violation: August 2007
Officer Kenneth Dekleine, PPO violation: May 2007
Officer Kenneth Dekleine, Breaking and entering complaint: January 27, 2007
Officer Kenneth Dekleine: Allegations he abused Lori
Officer Kenneth Dekleine: Allegations he used recording devices to stalk Lori
Officer Kenneth Dekleine: Allegations he raped Lori