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Thursday, January 17, 2008

[MI] Chief Kruithoff ignored officer's crimes - Now Lori's dead

I was so sad to see even the titles of the last stream of articles about Lori's murder. I had to call my friend Renee' and have her stay on the phone with me so I wouldn't be alone as I read them.

Again - another officer's wife who was terrified before she was killed, felt - no - knew she couldn't get help from local police, and whose killer was violating the court protecion order repeatedly - without receiving any consequences for doing so. Here is yet another chief who says he knew, but who says it's not his job to handle the officers personal life. This chief says he didn't know what was in Lori's protection order even though it's filed with his department on his own officer. Unpersuasive CYA.

And clearly, even now with Lori dead, this Chief still believes whatever Officer Ken DeKlein told him about Lori - what DeKleine told EVERYone - in order to discredit her, dessimate her credibilty.

It must have been for Lori like a horror movie, every day. And then one day there he is, having broken into her house again, stepping out from the shadows when she thought she was in the house alone...

I'm not talking about "blame" now when I say this chief needs to be held accountable for his part in the murder of Lori Kay Meulman DeKleine. Just straight accountability. If he had obeyed Federal gun law, if he had enforced protection order violations, if he had considered for one moment that Lori was not the liar, if he had taken time to learn the dynamics of domestic violence and the redundantly unimaginative, predictable strategies of abusers... if the chief had exercised any degree of law enforcement PROFESSIONALISM at any point along his officer's course - perhaps Officer DeKleine could have gotten help, and there is a much better chance that Lori's children would still have their mother. Sue him - and his department, his city. Municipalities understand liability and make changes. For all the Lori's still "terrified" that that their officer husband is going to kill them - sue so-called top cops that don't lead. Make it not so comfortable to cover for officers who clearly need to get help. Make them think twice about ignoring an officer's wife because they want to protect the officer's career. Force them into correctness. To see some of what a righteous officer-involved domestic violence WRONGFUL DEATH lawsuit can do for the TERRIFIED who are still alive - PLEASE visit

Holland Police Chief John Kruithoff
From following video:
Holland Police Chief John Kruithoff: "My job is to make sure he can perform his job. And Ken did his job, alright?..."

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'"... Days before her estranged police - officer husband, Ken DeKleine, allegedly slipped into her Holland Heights home and strangled her, she told friends: "You know, if I come up dead, if something happens to me, make sure Ken's investigated"... "I have become increasingly terrified and afraid for my life... Ken has been a sexual and emotional bully throughout our marriage, beginning on our honeymoon"... She told people last weekend that if anything happens to me, make sure they investigate Ken...

From following video:
"...Now the Holland Police Chief says he knew Lori DeKleine took out a Person Protection Order against her husband, but he did not know why... Holland Police Chief John Kruithoff says that Officer Ken DeKleine came into contact with wife Lori three times after he was ordered to stay away from her. Each occasion was investigated, and excused..."

Lori DeKleine felt isolated, and she did not think the police would protect her. She believed her husband had convinced friends, including those at Holland Heights Christian Reformed Church, where they both worshipped and she worked, that she was the problem... He said he had "complete support" from police commanders who had "full knowledge of all of Lori's mental health issues and have discussed her suicidal behavior"... "If there would have been alarm signs, we would have done something," Chief John Kruithoff said. "I didn't see there was a significant event that went on in his life that would have triggered this. Ken was a very talkative person, everyone's friend. He didn't suppress the fact he was having marital troubles. But, obviously, he suppressed something enough where he committed this."

PIECES OF ARTICLES:

Neighbors say officer charged with killing his wife had restraining order against him

WZZM
1/13/2008
Holland – While a Holland police officer sits in jail, new information sheds light on a marriage neighbors say was falling apart. Police arrested Officer Ken DeKleine for killing his wife [Lori DeKleine] Thursday night in the couple's home... [Holland Police Chief John] Kruithoff says the couple had been having marital problems, which Ken DeKleine had been open and honest about. "Ken's been very open about the difficulties he's had with his wife, it's not a secret, and the results of this event are very shocking and disturbing to us... this absolutely is a person you wouldn't expect this from"...

Officer Arraigned For Wife's Murder
wwmt.com
January 14, 2008
...Court documents tell a twisted story of Ken lying in wait with a nylon strap, confessing that he strangled his soon to be ex-wife last week, trying to make it all look like a suicide... Even before Newschannel 3 profiled Officer DeKleine in 2005 as he prepared to head over to Iraq to train officers, a neighbor says the couple had filed for divorce. "Yeah, we were aware of it, Ken shared his frustration with that," said Holland Police Chief John Kruithoff. Lori had filed a personal protection order against Ken in January of '07. In it, a number of restrictions were listed, stating that DeKleine was prohibited from entering the couple's house, stalking Lori, or threatening her, verbally or physically. The PPO was filed with Holland Police, the very place where Ken continued to work as an officer. Lori's divorce Attorney Holly Verdem says that Lori was afraid of what Ken might do to her. "She told people last weekend that if anything happens to me, make sure they investigate Ken," Verdem told Newschannel 3. Then on Thursday, Lori's body was discovered...

Victim was terrified of her husband, records show

Grand Haven Tribune
Chris Epplett
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...

Slain wife warned friends about possible violence
Police say evidence was lacking in previous domestic disputes

Grand Rapids Press
John Agar And John Tunison
January 15, 2008
The end for Lori DeKleine came just as she feared. Days before her estranged police - officer husband, Ken DeKleine, allegedly slipped into her Holland Heights home and strangled her, she told friends: "You know, if I come up dead, if something happens to me, make sure Ken's investigated." Her attorney, Holly Verde, recalled the haunting words Monday. She thinks Holland police should have done more to protect her client after Lori DeKleine chronicled allegations of abuse and a break-in at the home the couple once shared on Calvin Avenue. In a statement she wrote nearly a year ago, Lori DeKleine said: "I have become increasingly terrified and afraid for my life"... Police twice investigated allegations he violated a restraining order, but prosecutors did not find evidence to charge him. Police investigated the break-in, but it was viewed as a civil dispute because the officer, at the time, was not barred from the home. "If there would have been alarm signs, we would have done something," Chief John Kruithoff said. "I didn't see there was a significant event that went on in his life that would have triggered this. Ken was a very talkative person, everyone's friend. He didn't suppress the fact he was having marital troubles. But, obviously, he suppressed something enough where he committed this." Verde said Lori DeKleine felt isolated, and she did not think the police would protect her. She believed her husband had convinced friends, including those at Holland Heights Christian Reformed Church, where they both worshipped and she worked, that she was the problem. A mutual friend told her that Ken DeKleine had falsely told others she had a relationship with her therapist, records showed. DeKleine also said his estranged wife suffered severe depression and was suicidal. She has a "well-established pattern of blaming others for her mental and emotional problems," he wrote in court documents... He said he had "complete support" from police commanders who had "full knowledge of all of Lori's mental health issues and have discussed her suicidal behavior"...

Police: Officer confessed
Ken DeKleine charged with open murder in wife's death

Holland Sentinel
January 15, 2008
...On Friday, after DeKleine was informed of his right to remain silent, he admitted to investigators he had killed his 43-year-old wife, court records show. DeKleine, 44, was arraigned Monday afternoon in Holland District Court on an open murder charge. He remains jailed without bond. DeKleine told investigators on Friday that he had strangled his wife with a nylon strap in the kitchen at their home, according to court records. DeKleine then took his wife's body into the home's basement where he attempted to make her death appear a suicide... DeKleine had surreptitiously got inside the house -- the two had been separated and he was living elsewhere -- where he waited until his two children had left and Lori was alone. DeKleine then went into the kitchen where he choked his wife with a nylon strap until she fell to the floor dead... "He claims that he was bitten on his lip by (Lori) prior to the homicide, and this was substantiated by six sutures on (his) lip that was noted during the investigation"...

OBITUARY

Lori (Meulman) De Kleine, age 43, of Holland went to be with her Lord on Thursday, January 10, 2008 at her home. She was a member of Holland Heights Christian Reformed Church and also worked for the church as publications editor and creative force. She was a member of Focus Plus, a ADHD support group and served as the Holland Christian School TAP Board President. Lori grew up in Kalamazoo and attended Kalamazoo Christian School and Calvin College. She was a former teacher at Borculo Christian School. She is survived by her husband Ken and children... An on-line registry book is available at www.lakeshorememorial.com for those who cannot attend the services.

2 comments:

  1. The masks we wear
    Holland Sentinel
    JIM TIMMERMANN Opinion Page Editor
    Thursday, January 17, 2008
    ...The story of Ken DeKleine is another reminder how easily and how often we delude ourselves into believing that we "know" someone. We shouldn't be shocked because we never get more than a glimpse of the true nature of a person -- not co-workers we spend eight hours a day with, in some cases not even family members... Human beings are so complicated and life so fraught with uncertainty that we latch on to simple labels --"conscientious cop," "dedicated teacher," "friendly co-worker" -- to help us make sense of the world. When I was a child, my parents warned me not to rush to judge people harshly, because I could not know all that they had gone through in their lives. It was a good lesson, but as an adult I've learned through experience another, more cynical lesson -- to be careful in judging positively as well, not to rush to praise or trust about whom I really know so little. The Ken DeKleine story reminds us that we are all strangers in this world That is so sad, and so very frightening.
    http://hollandsentinel.com/stories/011708/opinion_20080117049.shtml

    ReplyDelete
  2. Murder story should have emphasized the victim, not suspect
    Letters to the editor
    Holland Sentinel
    January 15, 2008
    It is always disturbing when an alleged murderer receives what could be understood as more sympathetic coverage than does the victim. It is even more disturbing when the local paper is behind it. Such is the case in The Sentinel's coverage Saturday of the death of Holland's Lori DeKleine. From the huge headline, announcing the story to be first about the alleged murderer and police officer, to the huge, clear photo depicting the smiling officer, compared to the small grainy photo of the murdered victim, to the story itself, in which the victim is barely mentioned until the end with an old quote expressing the difficulty of her husband's working in Iraq in 2005, compared to several paragraphs about the accused's good qualities and deeds in his personal comportment, in the military, and on the police force (he's even a "great cook"!), this story manipulates the point. Here's the point: A woman with two children was murdered in Holland, allegedly by her husband. That he is a Holland police officer is secondarily cause for alarm, not glowing reflection. The headline should have read: "Holland woman murdered; estranged husband in custody," for those are the most important relevant facts, in that order.
    David James and Susan Doyle
    Holland

    ReplyDelete

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