A former Michigan teacher was sentenced on Weds. to 30 to 60 years in prison for attempted murder after he slit his wife’s throat when she found out he was having sex with someone else, which she later learned was a teen girl.
Detroit Free Press reports that James Philip Chelekis, 32, started crying as the judge read his sentencing to him on Weds., weeks after he pleaded no contest to attempted murder. Yet, the tears came much too late for his former wife, Amanda, who called the trauma she experienced as “horrendous.”
“He came out of the closet behind me, my head was tipped back resting on the back of the chair with my eyes closed. Standing behind me, he kissed my forehead and slit my throat from one side to the other. The trauma I was forced to endure was horrendous.”
Judge sentences James Chelekis to between 30 and 60 years for attempted murder of his wife. Judge Paul Sullivan says guidelines calling for a lesser term 'just plain doesn't do it." @wzzm13 pic.twitter.com/TvBz26eru4
— John Hogan (@JohnHoganWZZM) January 23, 2018
According to court documents, the incident happened in late June 2017, shortly after Chelekis and his wife discussed an affair she found out about. At the time, she had no idea her husband was having sex with a 14-year-old girl. The discussion led to Chelekis creeping up on his wife from behind while in their Grand Rapids home, and slitting her throat as she tried desperately to stop him, resulting in gashes in her hands from defense wounds.
After he cut her throat, Amanda begged him to call for help, but instead. he started talking to the teen girl over the phone, who also urged him to call and get help. After around an hour, he dialed 911. Prior to phoning for help, however, he told Amanda, “this is the end.”
“He asked why I hadn’t bled out yet. I was constantly praying to find a way to live,’’ Amanda told the court. “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.’’
Amanda credited her training as a nurse to helping her survive until help arrived, as she knew how to position her head to keep blood from flowing into her airways.
When detectives spoke to the 14-year-old, she told them she’d been having a sexual relationship for around a year with Chelekis when the tragedy occurred. Detectives later found text messages and photos to help confirm the relationship.
Amanda and her former husband shared two children together. She said she’d been left with the heartbreaking task of one day explaining that their father tried to kill her.
“Someday when it is developmentally appropriate, I have to tell my children their father is not with us because he tried to kill me,” Amanda told the court.
Judge Paul Sullivan of the Kent County Circuit Court, upon hearing in detail what the victim endured, exceeded the advisory sentencing guidelines, which called for a little less than 19 years behind bars.
“I don’t buy the mental-health stuff,” the judge said. “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.’’
[Feature Photo: James Philip Chelekis/Police Handout]