Monday, August 25, 2008

Officer Ken DeKleine - Sentencing Hearing - Lori DeKleine Murder

Family blames killer cop, 'blue wall' of protection
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
By John Tunison
The Grand Rapids Press
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/base/news-43/12197565307910.xml&coll=6

GRAND HAVEN -- The family of Lori DeKleine says she fell victim to her police officer husband and the "blue wall," the supposed closing of ranks among police to shelter an officer doing wrong.

Nearly eight months after Ken DeKleine murdered his estranged wife, her family has trouble understanding how DeKleine's police officer friends never recognized his hidden rage, or how he escaped being charged with restraining-order violations.

In a Grand Haven courtroom Monday, Lori DeKleine's parents and sister mostly focused their anger on Ken DeKleine, not the police, as a judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole. In fact, Patti Ticknor, Lori DeKleine's sister, shuddered as she looked toward DeKleine and described her hostility.

"I want Ken DeKleine to never see the light of day again. He has shown no value for human life," she said.

Ticknor and her parents, Jena and Paul Meulman, all told how Lori DeKleine's murder shattered their lives. Ken DeKleine, who kept his emotions in check at his July trial and again Monday, said nothing when offered the chance to speak.

Ticknor later said she hoped he would say something, even apologize, but realized her hopes were "a fantasy."

DeKleine, a 13-year Holland police officer before his Jan. 11 arrest, confessed on videotape to strangling his estranged wife. They were going through a divorce and child custody battle and DeKleine, who portrayed Lori DeKleine as mentally unstable, told others he did it for his children.

The Meulmans said Monday they knew Ken DeKleine was abusive and controlling toward their daughter when she confided in them in December 2006 and afterward.

Ken DeKleine began slipping over the edge, they believe, when he returned from a year's stint in Iraq and realized his wife would no longer submit to his control.

But they still cannot fathom the murder.

"I have spent many sleepless nights trying to understand Ken's selfish act," Paul Meulman said. "And I wonder why the Holland Police Department was not more effective in protecting her."

But as he did in January, Holland Police Chief John Kruithoff said Monday there is no "blue wall" at the Holland Police Department.

Lori DeKleine's two reports of restraining-order violations -- instances in which Ken DeKleine came near her at her church workplace and a Memorial Day parade -- were documented by police but found to be incidental by prosecutors and he was not charged.

"I would not protect any officer doing something wrong," Kruithoff said.

Kruithoff said he never received calls from Lori DeKleine's family or friends that she might be in danger and Ken DeKleine, in a jail letter, wrote that he kept his deadly intentions a secret.

In court, Ticknor described how she finally became good friends with her sister about a year ago, with Ken DeKleine no longer "pulling the strings." She told her sister she loved her on Christmas Day.

"Ken has robbed me of the joy I experienced in connecting with her," she said.











Former policeman sentenced to life for killing wife
Tue, Aug 26, 2008
BY MEGAN SCHMIDT
Holland Sentinel Writer
http://www.grandhaventribune.com/paid/298153083593607.bsp



"Former Holland police officer Ken DeKleine tried to play God when he murdered his wife..."

That's what Lori DeKleine's family told the court just before Ken DeKleine was sentenced Monday in Ottawa County Circuit Court in Grand Haven to spend the rest of his life in prison without parole.

By cutting Lori DeKleine's life short, "Ken took upon himself the role of God," said Jena Meulman, Lori DeKleine's mother. "I will never be able to trust anyone again the way I trusted Ken."

Ken DeKleine, 45, was convicted in July on charges of first-degree murder and felony murder. His wife, Lori DeKleine, 43, was found dead in January in the basement of her Holland home with a climbing strap tied around her neck.

Ken DeKleine confessed to the murder one day after her body was found. He told investigators that after he killed his wife and dragged her body to the basement, he panicked and abandoned his plan to make her death look like a suicide.

Ken DeKleine gave no statement Monday, but smiled and winked at family in the room.

As DeKleine stood facing his wife's family in the courtroom, Lori DeKleine's father, Paul Meulman, said the abuse Lori endured in her marriage was something she kept private.

"Her stories about Ken's abuse of her were told to only a small group of people," Meulman said. "I was included in that small group of people. ... Ken deceived and manipulated many people with his side of the story."

Meulman voiced disappointment with the police department where Ken DeKleine worked.

"I have wondered why the Holland police were not more effective in protecting Lori," he said.

Several Holland officers testified during the trial in July that Ken DeKleine seemed obsessed with his troubled marriage. He framed his wife as emotionally unstable to anyone who would listen, many of them said.

At the same time, he was a well-liked officer who excelled at the job, they said.

Lori DeKleine's sister, Patti Ticknor, told the court Monday that Ken DeKleine's interference caused rifts between the sisters for years.

"What hurts the most is that in the last 20 years, I did not get to have a relationship (with Lori) where Ken wasn't pulling the strings," she said.

Just before the murder, the sisters had reconciled, she said.



"On Christmas Day, I told her I loved her," Ticknor said.

After giving the sentence, Judge Calvin Bosman said it was a mystery that Ken DeKleine plotted the murder for a year, never considering handling his issues with Lori DeKleine in another way.

"Why, during the course of a year, didn't something trigger in your mind that there would be a different way to proceed in this matter?" Bosman asked.

After the sentencing, Paul Meulman said that his daughter never tried to damage her husband's reputation the way he did hers.

"She never played his game," he said. "She wouldn't tell anyone about the things going on, but she did start telling us."

Meulman recalled sitting down with Ken DeKleine after Lori DeKleine told him about the abuse in her relationship.

Lori DeKleine first mentioned it to him after Ken DeKleine returned from a 2006 stint as a police officer in Iraq, he said.

"When Lori started opening up to us, we started to talk to him," Meulman said. "We had quite a long discussion with him about how controlling he was."

Meulman said Ken DeKleine showed little interest or remorse in that conversation.

"He won't listen to other people," Meulman said. "He's always been that way. As head of the household, he was always right."










Ex-officer sentenced in wife's death
Traverse City Record
August 26, 2008 09:40 am
http://www.record-eagle.com/statenews/local_story_239094059.html

GRAND RAPIDS -- A former Holland police officer has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing his wife.

Forty-five-year-old Ken DeKleine said nothing during his sentencing Monday, which followed his conviction last month on a charge of first-degree murder in 43-year-old Lori DeKleine's death.

Court testimony showed the DeKleines were going through a bitter divorce and custody battle.

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Calvin Bosman told DeKleine it's "a total mystery" why he didn't consider another course of action given his Christian education, police training and good record.













Changes in Holland PD after DeKleine murder
August 25, 2008 - 5:07PM
WWMT- Channel 3
http://www.wwmt.com/articles/holland_1352666___article.html/murder_changes.html

HOLLAND, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - In the wake of the conviction and sentencing of former Holland Police officer Ken DeKleine for the murder of his wife, the Holland Police Department has made some changes to better support and protect each other.

"Because law enforcement is one of those careers, where it's stressful to be a cop and deal with what we deal with everyday," said Capt. Jack Dykstra of the Holland Police Department.

Which is why in Holland, a peer support team is available and has been for several years. What's new in the last few months is that family and friends of officers can voice their concerns through an on-line yahoo group.

The city's Human Resources Director also says that all 425 Holland employees get two free counseling sessions a year, and that has been an option for those employees for 20 years.

"The program has really been utilized across the board, by a lot of different people," said Gary Rahn, HR Director for the City of Holland.

Back at the police department, Capt. Dykstra isn't sure if the latest changes to the system could have helped spot what happened with officer Ken DeKleine.

"It could have given someone in the family a voice that they feel they didn't have," said Dykstra.

Which is what the Capt. says they are after, communication, both inside and outside of the Holland Police Department.

Capt. Dykstra said that the department has "challenged all the employees, not only police officers, but all the employees to say; hey, don't be afraid to admit this is stressful and it affects your family."

The Holland Police Department has also increased the frequency of its employee evaluations from once a year to once every four months.










Ex-police officer sentenced in wife's death
Monday, August 25, 2008 at 3:17 p.m.
NBC 25, Michigan
http://www.weyi.com/news/news_story.aspx?id=180022




(AP) -- GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A former Holland police officer has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing his wife.

Forty-five-year-old Ken DeKleine said nothing during his sentencing Monday, which followed his conviction last month on a charge of first-degree murder in 43-year-old Lori DeKleine's death.

Court testimony showed the DeKleines were going through a bitter divorce and custody battle.

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Calvin Bosman told DeKleine it's "a total mystery" why he didn't consider another course of action given his Christian education, police training and good record.











Ex-Holland officer sentenced in wife's death
Associated Press
August 25, 2008 2:54 PM ET
WSJV News, South Bend Indiana
http://www.fox28.com/Global/story.asp?S=8895451

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A former Holland police officer has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing his wife.

Forty-5-year-old Ken DeKleine said nothing during his sentencing Monday, which followed his conviction last month on a charge of first-degree murder in 43-year-old Lori DeKleine's death.Ex-Holland officer sentenced in wife's death.

Court testimony showed the DeKleines were going through a bitter divorce and custody battle.

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Calvin Bosman told DeKleine it's "a total mystery" why he didn't consider another course of action given his Christian education, police training and good record.











Ex-Holland officer sentenced in wife's death
Associated Press
August 25, 2008 2:54 PM ET
WLNS TV 6 Lansing MI
http://www.wlns.com/Global/story.asp?S=8895451&nav=menu25_2

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A former Holland police officer has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing his wife.

Forty-5-year-old Ken DeKleine said nothing during his sentencing Monday, which followed his conviction last month on a charge of first-degree murder in 43-year-old Lori DeKleine's death.

Court testimony showed the DeKleines were going through a bitter divorce and custody battle.

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Calvin Bosman told DeKleine it's "a total mystery" why he didn't consider another course of action given his Christian education, police training and good record.






Ex-Holland officer sentenced in wife's death
MLIVE
8/25/2008, 2:48 p.m. EDT
The Associated Press
http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/news-56/1219682946315930.xml&storylist=newsmichigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A former Holland police officer has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing his wife.

Forty-five-year-old Ken DeKleine said nothing during his sentencing Monday, which followed his conviction last month on a charge of first-degree murder in 43-year-old Lori DeKleine's death.

Court testimony showed the DeKleines were going through a bitter divorce and custody battle.

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Calvin Bosman told DeKleine it's "a total mystery" why he didn't consider another course of action given his Christian education, police training and good record.










Ex-Holland officer sentenced in wife's death
WSBT NEWS
Story Created: Aug 25, 2008 at 2:36 PM EDT
Story Updated: Aug 25, 2008 at 4:27 PM EDT
http://www.wsbt.com/news/regional/27362104.html

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A former Holland police officer has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing his wife.

Forty-five-year-old Ken DeKleine said nothing during his sentencing Monday, which followed his conviction last month on a charge of first-degree murder in 43-year-old Lori DeKleine's death.

Court testimony showed the DeKleines were going through a bitter divorce and custody battle.

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Calvin Bosman told DeKleine it's "a total mystery" why he didn't consider another course of action given his Christian education, police training and good record.









Former Holland police officer sentenced for killing his wife
Posted By: Matt Campbell
WZZM NEWS
2:30pm, August 25,2008
http://www.wzzm13.com/news/most_popular_story.aspx?storyid=97550&provider=top



Grand Haven, MI (WZZM) - "I want Ken DeKleine to never see the light of day."

That was what Lori DeKleine's sister told a judge Monday morning at the former Holland police officer's sentencing for his wife's murder.

An Ottawa County Circuit Court judge sentenced DeKleine to life in prison without possibility of parole for the January murder.

Prosecutors say DeKleine was in the home and strangled his wife to death, then staged the scene to look like a suicide. DeKleine later confessed to the murder during a police interview.

DeKleine remained emotionless during his sentencing. The judge asked, "Mr. Dekleine anything you'd like to say?" He responded, "No, your honor.

However, Lori DeKleine's family had plenty to say as they stood a few feet from the son-in-law they once trusted. Gena Meulman is the victim's mother, "I now have peace that Lori is safe and free from a life of abuse and control." She told the court.

Lori's father, Paul Meulman, also spoke, "She has been released from from her world of fear, abuse and violence, into her heavenly home." On July 11, a jury took less than 90 minutes to find DeKleine guilty of killing his wife, Lori, at their home. She was seeking a divorce, and had personal protection orders out against him.

Lori' DeKleine's only sibling, Patty Ticknor choked back the tears as she spoke in court, "The pain and despair I feel are beyond words." Ticknor said she had recently reconciled with her sister, renewing a relationship she said Ken DeKleine had ruined 20 years ago.

"I want Ken DeKleine to never see the light of day again to be placed in the worst possible prison far away from the state of Michigan." And, she hoped the 13 year police officer would be imprisoned - for life - amongst the general prison population.










DeKleine sentenced to life for killing wife
By MEGAN SCHMIDT
The Holland Sentinel
Posted Aug 25, 2008 @ 12:52 PM
Last update Aug 25, 2008 @ 05:52 PM
http://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/x1311851501/DeKleine-sentenced-to-life-for-killing-wife

Grand Haven, MI — Former Holland police officer Ken DeKleine tried to play God when he murdered his wife.

That’s what Lori DeKleine’s family told the court just before Ken DeKleine was sentenced in Ottawa County Circuit Court in Grand Haven, Monday, Aug. 25, to spend the rest of his life in prison without parole.

By cutting Lori DeKleine’s life short, “Ken took upon himself the role of God,” said Jena Meulman, Lori DeKleine’s mother, in a statement. “I will never be able to trust anyone again the way I trusted Ken.”

Ken DeKleine, 45, was convicted in July on charges of first-degree murder and felony murder. His wife, Lori DeKleine, 43, was found dead in January in the basement of her Calvin Avenue home with a climbing strap tied around her neck.

Ken DeKleine confessed to the murder one day after her body was found.

He told investigators that after he killed his wife and dragged her body to the basement, he panicked and abandoned his plan to make her death look like a suicide.

Ken DeKleine gave no statement Monday, but smiled and winked at family in the room. As he stood facing his wife’s family in the courtroom, Lori DeKleine’s father Paul Meulman said the abuse Lori endured in her marriage was something she kept private.

“Her stories about Ken’s abuse of her were told to only a small group of people. I was included in that small group of people,” Meulman said.

Meanwhile, Meulman said, “Ken deceived and manipulated many people with his side of the story.”

Meulman voiced disappointment with the police department where Ken DeKleine worked.

“I have wondered why the Holland police were not more effective in protecting Lori,” he said.

Several Holland officers testified during the trial in July that Ken DeKleine seemed obsessed with his troubled marriage. He framed his wife as emotionally unstable to anyone who would listen, many of them said.

At the same time, he was a well-liked officer who excelled at the job, they said.

Lori DeKleine’s sister, Patti Ticknor, told the court Monday that Ken DeKleine’s interference caused rifts between the sisters for years.

“What hurts the most is that in the last 20 years, I did not get to have a relationship (with Lori) where Ken wasn’t pulling the strings,” she said.

Just before the murder, the sisters had reconciled, she said.

“On Christmas Day, I told her I loved her,” Ticknor said.

After giving the sentence, Judge Calvin Bosman said it was a mystery that Ken DeKleine plotted the murder for a year, never considering handling his issues with Lori DeKleine in another way.

“Why, during the course of a year, didn’t something trigger in your mind that there would be a different way to proceed in this matter?” Bosman asked.

After the sentencing, Paul Meulman said that his daughter never tried to damage her husband’s reputation the way he did hers.

“She never played his game,” he said. “She wouldn’t tell anyone about the things going on but she did start telling us.”

Meulman recalled sitting down with Ken DeKleine after Lori DeKleine told him about the abuse in her relationship.

Lori DeKleine first mentioned it to him after Ken DeKleine returned from a 2006 stint as a police officer in Iraq, he said.

“When Lori started opening up to us, we started to talk to him,” Meulman said. “We had quite a long discussion with him about how controlling he was.”

He showed little interest or remorse in that conversation, Meulman said.

“He won’t listen to other people,” he said. “He’s always been that way. As head of the household, he was always right.”


Patti Ticknor, left, sister of Lori DeKleine, addresses the court during the sentencing of former Holland Police Officer Ken DeKleine Monday at the Ottawa County Courthouse in Grand Haven. Standing behind Ticknor is her father, Paul Meulman. Ken DeKleine was sentenced to life without parole for the January murder of his wife. (8/25/08). Dan Irving/The Holland Sentinel.







Jena and Paul Meulman, parents of Lori DeKleine, are greeted by family and friends following the sentencing of Ken DeKleine Monday at the Ottawa County Courthouse in Grand Haven. Ken DeKleine was sentenced to life without parole for the January murder of his wife Lori DeKleine at her Holland home. (8/25/08). Dan Irving/The Holland Sentinel







Former Holland Police Officer Ken DeKleine, left, convicted in the January murder of his wife Lori DeKleine, is led into the courtroom for sentencing Monday at the Ottawa County Courthouse in Grand Haven. DeKleine was sentenced to life without parole. (8/25/08). Dan Irving/The Holland Sentinel





Former Holland Police Officer Ken DeKleine, left, convicted in the January murder of his wife Lori DeKleine, listens to a statement from Lori's sister Patti Ticknor during his sentencing Monday at the Ottawa County Courthouse in Grand Haven. Lori's parents, Paul and Jena Meulman also addressed the court. DeKleine was sentenced to life without parole. (8/25/08). Dan Irving/The Holland Sentinel












Ex-officer sentenced to life for wife's murder
WWMT TV NEWS
August 25, 2008 - 11:52AM
http://www.wwmt.com/articles/wife_1352656___article.html/murder_home.html

Holland, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - In January, one of Lori DeKleine's children found her body in the basement of their home.

Initially police thought it was a suicide. Autopsy results proved otherwise.

They arrested her husband, Ken DeKleine the next day. The couple was in the process of getting a divorce.

In July a jury convicted him of murder. Monday, Ken DeKleine was back in court to hear his sentence, and hear from his victim's family.

Three very difficult statements were made by victims addressing Ken DeKleine. The convicted murderer is now going to prison for the rest of his life. There wasn't much mystery as to what would happen Monday. DeKleine got a mandatory sentence of life in prison for killing his wife Lori.

The trial was very one-sided. Little if any defense was presented. There was an enormous amount of physical evidence introduced, including the fact that Ken DeKleine's blood was found on Lori's clothes. Perhaps the most convincing evidence was that DeKleine admitted to the crime numerous times in chats and letters with family members, friends and even detectives.

This was an especially difficult trial because DeKleine served the community as a police officer and also had served in the military. Family members say they still don't understand it.

"The pain and despair I feel are beyond words. I don't understand how someone I once cared about was actually that evil and planned and brutally killed my sister cause he thought his kids would be better off," said Patti Ticknor, Lori's sister.

Despite what was said in court, DeKleine wrote in a letter shortly after the crime that it was quote "best for everybody" that she be dead for the sake of the family's two teenage children.













Former Holland Police Officer Ken DeKleine ordered to spend life in prison for killing wife
Posted by John Tunison
Muskegon Chronicle
August 25, 2008 11:49AM
http://blog.mlive.com/chronicle/2008/08/former_holland_police_officer.html


Former Holland Police Officer Ken DeKleine appears in Ottawa County Circuit Court for sentencing in the killing of his wife, Lori. Chronicle News Service.



GRAND HAVEN -- Former Holland Police Officer Ken DeKleine was ordered this morning to spend the rest of his life in prison without parole for killing his wife.

A 13-year Holland police officer, DeKleine, 45, was convicted in July of killing Lori DeKleine after a jury deliberated only 75 minutes.

DeKleine said nothing in court, but winked at family members seated in the courtroom.

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Calvin Bosman questioned why DeKleine did not get help when he was being overcome with the rage that led to the murder.

"With your Christian education, your training as a police officer, your good record as a police officer, why during the course of a year something didn't register in your mind there would be some other course of action to take remains a total mystery," Bosman said.


Ken DeKleine, left, in Ottawa County Circuit Court listens to statements made by family members of Lori DeKleine. The former Holland police officer was sentenced to life in prison without parole for her murder.


His video-taped confessions shows he entered the garage of his former Calvin Avenue home in the middle of the night Jan. 10, waited in attic for several hours, then pushed his way into the house after Lori DeKleine opened the door in the morning.


He admitted to strangling her with a climbing strap, then dragging her body into the basement and trying to stage a suicide. In the confession, he admitted to botching the scheme when he could not lift her body and simply leaving the unattached strap dangling from a rafter.

Court testimony showed DeKleine was in a bitter divorce and custody battle with Lori DeKleine, 43, and was obsessed with her relationship with her therapist. The couple have two teen children, Breanne and Christopher.


Family members of Lori DeKleine, including her mother, Jena Meulman, third from left, and her father, Paul Meulman, second from right, embrace outside Ottawa County District Court after Ken DeKleine was sentenced Monday.


The parents of Lori DeKleine and her sister, Patti Ticknor, made emotional statements before Bosman sentenced DeKleine, They said they cannot fathom why he took her life.

"Thoughts of this event plague my mind frequently. I have spent many sleepless nights trying to understand Ken's selfish act," said Lori DeKleine's father, Paul Meulman.

In court, Ticknor said she once respected and cared for Ken DeKleine, and admired him as a father, "until he thought it best to play God and kill Lori."


DeKleine portrayed his estranged wife as someone mentally unstable who was damaging their children psychologically, but Ottawa County Prosecutor Ron Frantz said the evidence did not show any problems. In fact, she was a good mother and was respected at her church job, he said.

In letters from jail, DeKleine told others he was at peace with his wife's killing and said he was "sleeping better now than I have in two years."

He wrote that the killing seemed like the best option to him.

"I feel so free. I am not worried sick by what (Lori DeKleine) is doing to the kids anymore by her lies, blackmail and extortion."

DeKleine's fellow police officers said they never imagined he would resort to violence, even though many knew about his marital strife. Lori DeKleine had a personal protection order against her husband.

Lori DeKleine's family believes the Holland police department should have done more to recognize that one of their own officers was losing control. They believe DeKleine was protected by the "blue wall," although Holland Police Chief John Kruithoff has always said DeKleine showed no outward signs of trouble.

Her sister's death has motivated Ticknor to become involved with the Michigan Officer-involved Domestic Violence group and try to spread the word about how women can get help in abusive homes.

"Lori would be proud of us for having someone else learn from her situation," Ticknor said. "She would want someone's life to be saved."








Former Holland Police Officer Ken DeKleine ordered to spend life in prison for killing wife
by John Tunison
The Grand Rapids Press
Monday August 25, 2008, 11:27 AM
http://www.mlive.com/grpress/news/index.ssf/2008/08/former_holland_police_officer.html



GRAND HAVEN -- Former Holland Police Officer Ken DeKleine was ordered this morning to spend the rest of his life in prison without parole for killing his wife.


A 13-year Holland police officer, DeKleine, 45, was convicted in July of killing Lori DeKleine after a jury deliberated only 75 minutes.

DeKleine said nothing in court, but winked at family members seated in the courtroom.

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Calvin Bosman questioned why DeKleine did not get help when he was being overcome with the rage that led to the murder.

"With your Christian education, your training as a police officer, your good record as a police officer, why during the course of a year something didn't register in your mind there would be some other course of action to take remains a total mystery," Bosman said.


DeKleine, left, in Ottawa County Circuit Court listens to statements made by family members of Lori DeKleine. The former Holland police officer was sentenced to life in prison without parole for her murder.


His video-taped confessions shows he entered the garage of his former Calvin Avenue home in the middle of the night Jan. 10, waited in attic for several hours, then pushed his way into the house after Lori DeKleine opened the door in the morning.

He admitted to strangling her with a climbing strap, then dragging her body into the basement and trying to stage a suicide. In the confession, he admitted to botching the scheme when he could not lift her body and simply leaving the unattached strap dangling from a rafter.

Court testimony showed DeKleine was in a bitter divorce and custody battle with Lori DeKleine, 43, and was obsessed with her relationship with her therapist. The couple have two teen children, Breanne and Christopher.


Family members of Lori DeKleine, including her mother, Jena Meulman, third from left, and her father, Paul Meulman, second from right, embrace outside Ottawa County District Court after Ken DeKleine was sentenced Monday.


The parents of Lori DeKleine and her sister, Patti Ticknor, made emotional statements before Bosman sentenced DeKleine, They said they cannot fathom why he took her life.

"Thoughts of this event plague my mind frequently. I have spent many sleepless nights trying to understand Ken's selfish act," said Lori DeKleine's father, Paul Meulman.

In court, Ticknor said she once respected and cared for Ken DeKleine, and admired him as a father, "until he thought it best to play God and kill Lori."

DeKleine portrayed his estranged wife as someone mentally unstable who was damaging their children psychologically, but Ottawa County Prosecutor Ron Frantz said the evidence did not show any problems. In fact, she was a good mother and was respected at her church job, he said.

In letters from jail, DeKleine told others he was at peace with his wife's killing and said he was "sleeping better now than I have in two years."

He wrote that the killing seemed like the best option to him.

"I feel so free. I am not worried sick by what (Lori DeKleine) is doing to the kids anymore by her lies, blackmail and extortion."

DeKleine's fellow police officers said they never imagined he would resort to violence, even though many knew about his marital strife. Lori DeKleine had a personal protection order against her husband.

Lori DeKleine's family believes the Holland police department should have done more to recognize that one of their own officers was losing control. They believe DeKleine was protected by the "blue wall," although Holland Police Chief John Kruithoff has always said DeKleine showed no outward signs of trouble.

Her sister's death has motivated Ticknor to become involved with the Michigan Officer-involved Domestic Violence group and try to spread the word about how women can get help in abusive homes.

"Lori would be proud of us for having someone else learn from her situation," Ticknor said. "She would want someone's life to be saved."








DeKleine sentenced to life in prison
Posted: Aug 25, 2008 10:16 AM CDT
Updated: Aug 25, 2008 11:43 AM CDT
WOODTV NEWS
http://www.woodtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8894749&nav=0Rce











GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) -- A former Holland police officer will spend the rest of his life behind bars with no chance of parole for the murder of his wife.


Ken DeKleine was sentenced Monday morning on first-degree murder charges. He was found guilty of the charge in July.

DeKleine admitted strangling Lori to death January 10 - an admission he made to investigators, family members and friends. Even his own lawyer said he did it.

Ottawa County Prosecutor Ronald Frantz told the jury DeKleine started thinking about committing the murder a year before it happened, after Lori got a personal protection order against him.

The couple was in the process of a divorce. Their 16-year-old son found his mother's body and testified against his father during the trial.

DeKleine turned down the chance to speak before he was sentenced. But Lori DeKleine's family did.

Her mom, dad and sister talked about his ability to manipulate his wife and those around her. Lori's sister, Patti Ticknor, was blunt in her statement.

"I want Ken DeKleine to never see the light of day again.

To be placed in the worst possible prison, far away from the state of Michigan since he has shown no value for human life or emotion."

Her dad put some of the blame on the Holland Police, and claimed they protected DeKleine after Lori complained about his abusive behavior.












Former Officer Sentenced To Life For Killing Wife
POSTED: 9:27 am EDT August 25, 2008
UPDATED: 1:51 pm EDT August 25, 2008
NEWS NET 5
http://www.newsnet5.com/news/17286568/detail.html

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A former Holland police officer has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing his wife.

Ken DeKleine, 45, said nothing during his sentencing Monday, which followed his conviction last month on a charge of first-degree murder in 43-year-old Lori DeKleine's death.

Court testimony showed the DeKleines were going through a bitter divorce and custody battle.

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Calvin Bosman told DeKleine it's "a total mystery" why he didn't consider another course of action given his Christian education, police training and good record.







Ex-Holland officer gets life in wife's death
Midday update
ASSOCIATED PRESS •
AUGUST 25, 2008 •
FROM Lansing State Journal

GRAND RAPIDS - A former Holland police officer has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing his wife.

Forty-five-year-old Ken DeKleine said nothing during his sentencing Monday, which followed his conviction last month on a charge of first-degree murder in 43-year-old Lori DeKleine's death.

Court testimony showed the DeKleines were going through a bitter divorce and custody battle.

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Calvin Bosman told DeKleine it's "a total mystery" why he didn't consider another course of action given his Christian education, police training and good record.











Ex-Holland Officer Sentenced In Wife's Death
WXMI NEWS
August 25, 2008
http://fox17.trb.com/news/082508-wxmi-sentencn,0,6915519.story

HOLLAND-AP — A former Holland police officer has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing his wife.

Forty-five-year-old Ken DeKleine said nothing during his sentencing Monday, which followed his conviction last month on a charge of first-degree murder in 43-year-old Lori DeKleine's death.

Court testimony showed the DeKleines were going through a bitter divorce and custody battle.

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Calvin Bosman told DeKleine it's "total mystery" why he didn't consider another course of action given his Christian education, police training and good record.









Ex-Holland officer sentenced in wife's death
WOODTV
August 25, 2008
http://www.woodtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8895433&nav=menu44_2_2

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A former Holland police officer has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing his wife.

Forty-five-year-old Ken DeKleine said nothing during his sentencing Monday, which followed his conviction last month on a charge of first-degree murder in 43-year-old Lori DeKleine's death.

Court testimony showed the DeKleines were going through a bitter divorce and custody battle.

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Calvin Bosman told DeKleine it's "a total mystery" why he didn't consider another course of action given his Christian education, police training and good record.










Ex-Mich. officer gets life in prison for murder
August 25, 2008
PoliceOne.com, California
By John Tunison
Grand Rapids Press
http://www.policeone.com/legal/articles/1729023-Ex-Mich-officer-gets-life-in-prison-for-murder/

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Former Holland Police Officer Ken DeKleine was ordered this morning to spend the rest of his life in prison without parole for killing his wife.

A 13-year Holland police officer, DeKleine, 45, was convicted in July of killing Lori DeKleine after a jury deliberated only 75 minutes.

DeKleine said nothing in court, but winked at family members seated in the courtroom.

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Calvin Bosman questioned why DeKleine did not get help when he was being overcome with the rage that led to the murder.

"With your Christian education, your training as a police officer, your good record as a police officer, why during the course of a year something didn't register in your mind there would be some other course of action to take remains a total mystery," Bosman said.

His video-taped confessions shows he entered the garage of his former Calvin Avenue home in the middle of the night Jan. 10, waited in attic for several hours, then pushed his way into the house after Lori DeKleine opened the door in the morning.

He admitted to strangling her with a climbing strap, then dragging her body into the basement and trying to stage a suicide. In the confession, he admitted to botching the scheme when he could not lift her body and simply leaving the unattached strap dangling from a rafter.

Court testimony showed DeKleine was in a bitter divorce and custody battle with Lori DeKleine, 43, and was obsessed with her relationship with her therapist. The couple have two teen children, Breanne and Christopher.

DeKleine portrayed his estranged wife as someone mentally unstable who was damaging their children psychologically, but Ottawa County Prosecutor Ron Frantz said the evidence did not show any problems. In fact, she was a good mother and was respected at her church job, he said.

In letters from jail, DeKleine told others he was at peace with his wife's killing and said he was "sleeping better now than I have in two years."

He wrote that the killing seemed like the best option to him.

"I feel so free. I am not worried sick by what (Lori DeKleine) is doing to the kids anymore by her lies, blackmail and extortion."

DeKleine's fellow police officers said they never imagined he would resort to violence, even though many knew about his marital strife. Lori DeKleine had a personal protection order against her husband.







Extra security planned for DeKleine sentencing
By MEGAN SCHMIDT
The Holland Sentinel
Posted Aug 23, 2008 @ 11:31 PM
Last update Aug 23, 2008 @ 11:33 PM
http://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/x2090471065/Extra-security-planned-for-DeKleine-sentencing


Former Holland Police Officer Ken DeKleine, right, sits with his attorney Floyed Farmer as he listens to prosecution testimony during day two of his murder trial earlier this year in Grand Haven. DeKleine will be sentenced Monday, Aug. 25, for the murder of his wife, Lori. Dan Irving

    Grand Haven, MI — When former Holland Police Department Officer Ken DeKleine steps into the courtroom for sentencing on Monday, Aug. 25, he’ll be flanked by two Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

The additional security is not typical for a sentencing, said Ottawa County Circuit Court Administrator Kevin Bowling.

“Often times for sentencings there might be one or two guards that would bring everybody in,” Bowling said, since multiple defendants are brought in to the courtroom at the same time for sentencings.Those guards act as security for all of the defendants, but DeKleine will have his own.

“There’s going to be a couple uniformed deputies assigned specifically to DeKleine to move him in and then move him out,” he said.

DeKleine will be sentenced Monday in Grand Haven on convictions of first-degree murder and felony murder for the January homicide of his wife, Lori DeKleine.

DeKleine was found guilty on both counts July 11 after less than 90 minutes of deliberation by a jury at Ottawa County Circuit Court in Grand Haven.

Lori DeKleine was found strangled in the basement of her home on Calvin Avenue on Jan. 10.

Bowling said he was not yet sure if Lori DeKleine’s family planned on making a statement at the sentencing.

A request for an interview that was sent to Lori DeKleine’s father this week was not returned.




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