This week, a woman from Kentwood, Wyoming gave powerful testimony during a sentencing hearing for her ex-husband who pleaded no contest to her attempted murder.
“Standing behind me, he kissed my forehead and slit my throat from one side to the other,’’ James Chelekis’ former wife, Amanda Chelekis, said on Tuesday. "The trauma I was forced to endure was horrendous.''
Chelekis, 32, previously worked as a public school math teacher. He was married and has two daughters with his ex-wife.
According to the Detroit Free Press, he was also sexually abusing a female middle school student who was only 14 years old at the time. His wife found out he was having an affair and confronted him in June, when she was attacked, but she was unaware it was with a teenage girl.
After Chelekis cut his wife’s throat, she begged him to call 911. While Amanda was bleeding out, Chelekis texted with the middle school student, who also told Chelekis to get help for his wife. After an hour, he called 911.
“He asked why I hadn’t bled out yet. I was constantly praying to find a way to live,’’ Amanda said. “I told him I was going to die very soon if he didn’t do something and he would regret it the rest of his life.’’
The couple’s kids were home during the brutal attack, the Detroit Free Press reported. Thankfully, they were unharmed and apparently unaware of the violence.
On Tuesday, James Chelekis was sentenced to between 30 and 60 years in prison for the attempted killing. Earlier this month, he pleaded no contest to the attempted murder, but he did plead guilty to two counts of criminal sexual conduct involving the 14-year-old student. He was sentenced to between 15 and 40 years for the sexual abuse of the minor.
James Chelekis apologized in court, stating, “I am truly sorry for how I failed and hurt people that I care about. I will never stop trying to say I’m sorry and apologize.’’
Kent County Circuit Court Judge Paul Sullivan did not have much sympathy for James, as he told him, “It’s pretty clear to me that you did want her to die. You expected her to die, you were wondering why it was taking so long to die.’’
James was visibly distraught and often crying during Tuesday’s testimony.
James’ attorney blamed mental illness for his actions.
“Those demons circled in his head like a tornado,’’ Shawn Perry said. “Unfortunately, our society has stigmatized mental health so that a big, strong, smart person should have no troubles in this world and they should not go ask for help because that’s a sign of weakness.’’
[Photo: Kent County Police Department]